Moments after Lakers’ guard Dion Waiters checked in to the team’s first game in nearly four months, a scrimmage against the Dallas Mavericks, he faded away and sunk a jump shot as the Lakers’ bench shouted “Cheeseeeee,” referencing Waiters’ nickname “Philly Cheese.”
A few possessions later in the first quarter and followed up by draining a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a 29-22 lead over the Mavericks to end the quarter as the Lakers ended on a 15-3 run.
It was the moment the Lakers long-awaited, welcome to Waiters Island.
Though Waiters finished with just nine points on 3-for-7 shooting from the field and 1-for-3 from the three-point line, it was a glimpse into the impact he can have as the team’s backup ball-handler when LeBron James is not on the floor.
With Avery Bradley out of the bubble and Rajon Rondo sidelined by a broken thumb for six to eight weeks, Waiters will play a major role for the Lakers’ second unit.
Head coach Frank Vogel announced in his pre-game press conference that James and Anthony Davis would only play in the first half.
The Lakers’ superstar duo did not miss a beat, providing the team with a healthy 10-point lead going into halftime scoring 12 points each in 15 minutes of play. James added five assists and three rebounds while Davis contributed two steals.
Before heading to the bench for the remainder of the game, James turned back the clock in year 17 with a monster dunk on a fastbreak. The Lakers led 55-44 at the halfway point of the scrimmage shooting 65 percent from the field in the first half.
Seth Curry led the charge on the Mavericks’ comeback that started with a 27-13 run during the third quarter. Curry, who was second in the NBA three-point percentage before the season shut down, was on fire. He shot a perfect 6-for-6 from three and 8-for-8 from the field. He finished with a game-high of 23 points on the night.
Mavericks’ big man Boban Marjonavic posted a double-double on his way to 17 points and 13 rebounds.
For the Lakers, Quinn Cook looked sharp off the bench ultimately leading the team as he tied JaVale McGee for a team-high of 13 points. Los Angeles was without fan favorite, Alex Caruso who was sidelined due to a back contusion he suffered during Wednesday’s practice.
Though this game was meaningless as it does not count towards the regular season, the Lakers suffered a 108-104 loss to the Mavericks. The team’s final scrimmage will be played on Monday against the Washington Wizards before the official resumption of the NBA season where the Lakers will face their co-tenants, the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30.