Lakers reserves showcase the team's depth in win over Mavericks
Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell, who scored 22 points off the bench, collides with Dallas Mavericks forward James Johnson as he makes a pass during Friday's 138-115 victory for the Lakers.
The Lakers are perhaps the deepest team in the NBA.
They showed that depth on Christmas night when they overpowered the Dallas Mavericks 138-115 at the Staples Center.
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One approach of the reserves was the threatening stance of Montrezl Harrell.
Another was Kyle Kuzma's all-round work, while a third was Markieff Morris's persistence.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said at a video conference after the game that Harrell had "just had a great night" and that Kuzma was playing "at a high level".
Harrell, the sixth man in the NBA last season when he played for the Clippers, only played what he apparently knows - aggressively and with bravado.
He had 22 points and only missed three of his 13 shots. He had seven rebounds, two assists and a steal.
After scoring against Boban Marjanovic in the fourth quarter, Harrell exchanged words with someone on the Mavericks bench. The Lakers had opened a 118-102 lead on Harrell's basket and forced the Mavericks to demand a 4-minute-48-second timeout. Marjanovic glared at Harrell after the Lakers' backup center gave his opinion.
But when the game was over, the 7-foot-4 Marjanovic, who is considered one of the nicest players in the NBA, and Harrell hugged, making it obvious that the past is the past.
The two had been teammates with the Clippers, so Harrell and Marjanovic, who had six points for the Mavericks in seven minutes, knew what to expect from the others.
"Just good clean, competition, man," said Harrell. “Boban's a great guy, man. He is an amazing person. He has an amazing heart and an amazing soul. He's a guy who is always full of energy and who always has a smile on his face. So we really only had a few laughs back and forth. It was a good, clean competition. "
Kuzma was in control for most of the game, rushing to rebound, cut and pass.
He ended his night with 13 points, shooting five for eleven from the field and three for four from three-point range. He had six rebounds, two assists and one shot blocked.
Morris was stable - he ricocheted, played defense, and made his shots when open.
He ended his night with nine points in three-on-five, each attempt with three pointers. He had seven rebounds, two assists and a steal.
The Lakers also received major contributions from reserves Alex Caruso (six points), Talen Horton-Tucker (five) and Wesley Matthews who had his share of the time defending Dallas star Luka Doncic.
"We are a strong team," said Kuzma. "We have five or six people who can get you 20. We all just come in and play with energy, just try to keep the game afloat or take over the game."
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
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