LOS ANGELES (AP) – Maxi Kleber hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer after a pass from Kyrie Irving, who scored 38 points in the Dallas Mavericks’ stunning 111-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
With Luka Doncic sidelined, Kleber did an outstanding impersonation of the injured superstar who has repeatedly beaten the Lakers with big shots over the years. The German big man’s teammates celebrated him after he silenced the Lakers crowd with his only 3-pointer of the night.
“I’ve never had a shot like that before,” said a grinning Kleber, who scored six of his 10 points in the final 7.2 seconds.
Kleber first hit three free throws after Anthony Davis fouled him on a 3-point attempt, and Davis made just one of two for Los Angeles with 6.7 seconds left after he was fouled on a layup . Dallas got the ball to Irving, who drew a double team and found Kleber for an open 3-pointer fired over Davis’ outstretched arm just before the horn.
“When he got past him, I knew I just had to fire him quick,” Kleber said. “It was a pretty amazing feeling. When I released it, I saw the ball in the air and thought, ‘Oh, hell, he’s got a chance to go in.’ All of a sudden it went in, and the next thing I knew, the whole team was running at me. It was a pretty cool experience.”
The game was also redemption for Kleber, who threw a touchdown pass with 1.8 seconds left on Wednesday night against San Antonio. The Spurs later tied the game and won in overtime.
“Knowing Ki, he wanted to go for the win,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said of the final game. “With the double team, he had to hand the ball off. It’s just the trust of his teammates, and Maxi was in the right place at the right time.”
Irving scored 13 points in the fourth quarter of his return from a three-game injury layoff for the Mavs, who avoided falling into a three-way tie with the Lakers and Timberwolves in the Western Conference standings.
“We fought hard to get back into the game, so it’s tough,” said Davis, who also missed key free throws in the final minute in losses to Boston and Philadelphia. “You have to be able to win basketball games, whether it’s at the free throw line or me making the right reads on defense.”
Davis had 26 points and 10 rebounds before making a handful of huge late-minute fouls for the Lakers, who missed 12 of 31 free throws and failed to make a field goal in the final 3:16 of their second shot at the playoffs hope. Los Angeles led by four points and had the ball with less than 20 seconds to play, but still lost for the third time in four games.
“We’re shooting free throws, we’re probably not going to have this conversation,” Lakers coach Darwin Hamm said.
Austin Reaves scored 16 points for Los Angeles and Dennis Schröder had 15. Los Angeles overcame a nine-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, but choked down the stretch as LeBron James looked on in street clothes.
James played his 10th straight game since the Lakers’ victory in Dallas last month, and the Lakers fell to 5-5 without the NBA’s career leader.
Mavericks: Doncic missed his fourth straight game with a bruised left thigh. He hopes to be back early next week. … Irving played 39 minutes after missing the previous three games with right foot soreness, while Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 12 points after sitting out Dallas’ last game with a bruised left calf.
Lakers: Coach Darwin Hamm said James’ rehab sessions are going well. The 20-year-old veteran is scheduled to be re-examined next week. … D’Angelo Russell struggled, scoring 11 points and 11 assists while going 0-for-6 on his 3-point attempts.
Mavericks: At Memphis on Monday night.
Lakers: Host Orlando on Sunday night.
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