Randle stars, Ball returns as Lakers top Mavs
(Associated Press) - February 24, 2018 - 4:30pm

LOS ANGELES — The attention was supposed to be about the return of rookie Lonzo Ball. Apparently Julius Randle had his own ideas.

Randle had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to overshadow Ball’s triumphant return to the lineup, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-102 on Friday night (Saturday in Manila).

It was Randle’s second triple-double this season and No. 5 for his career.

“He’s been getting much better at letting the game slow down for him,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton. “He’s starting to get double-teamed in the last few games.

“We’ve been working on him playing at a better pace once he gets into attack mode, recognizing the double-team and knowing where our shooters and cutters are going to be. I think he just did a really good job tonight of reading the defense.”

Ball, who was sidelined 15 games with a knee injury, had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in 17 minutes. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram scored 15 apiece to help Los Angeles stop a three-game slide.

Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes each scored 19 points for the Mavericks (18-41), who have dropped five of six.

The Lakers pounded the smaller Mavs on the glass, outrebounding Dallas 62-29.

“We just didn’t play hard enough, compete hard enough to win,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said.

The Mavericks lost by 22 points despite going 19 of 42 on 3-pointers.

“I’ve never seen a team make 19 3s and lose by over 20, so this is new for me,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “It has to be about more than making shots, and tonight we got outrebounded. They played with great force tonight and we just did not.”

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