The defense stalked Luka Doncic as he dribbled the near sideline, the clock ticking down as the Lakers blitzed with a double team.
Doncic, using the kind of 20/20 court vision few possess, jumped and zipped a two-handed pass to Christian Wood, who like Dallas players had all quarter walked into a wide-open three.
But unlike other Mavericks all quarter, Wood’s high-arching shot rattled off the rim.
It was just the team’s fourth missed three in the quarter — on 13 attempts — and it was a big one.
Had Wood drilled it, it would’ve officially been the worst defensive quarter in the Lakers’ 75-year history.
Dallas outscored the Lakers 51-21 in the third quarter, flipping a game the Lakers controlled in the first half, before ultimately beating them 124-115.
Dallas led by as many as 21 and controlled the game throughout the fourth.
It’s the Lakers’ fourth straight loss, knocking them seven games below .500 (13-20).
LeBron James, who made his 17th appearance in a Christmas game to surpass Kobe Bryant, scored 38 points to lead the Lakers, but Dallas had three different starters with at least 25. The Lakers’ four starters other than James combined to score just 32 points.
It’s the seventh consecutive game James has scored at least 30.
Doncic, who the Lakers aggressively double-teamed, finished with 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points of his 26 points in the third quarter and Wood finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The loss in Dallas begins a five-game road trip that carries the team into 2023.