Lakers Schroder Caldwell Pope combine for 54 in Dallas loss

Lakers’ Schroder, Caldwell-Pope combine for 54 in Dallas loss

They were not the main characters in this show, but Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received high praise for their performances as the Lakers’ starting backcourt Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks.

All eyes were on Anthony Davis — playing for the Lakers for the first time since Feb. 14 following a recovery from right calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg — and Dallas star Luka Doncic.

But Schroder and Caldwell-Pope earned rave reviews from Lakers coach Frank Vogel after combining for 54 points.

Schroder produced his fourth double-double of the season with 25 points and 13 assists. Caldwell-Pope contributed a season-high 29 points.

“I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat if you get that type of performance from Dennis and KCP,” Vogel said after the Lakers’ 115-110 loss. “So really encouraging signs from both of those guys.”

Schroder really raised his level of play in the third quarter. He had 14 points in the quarter, going six-for-seven from the field, two-for-two from three-point range.

“This is arguably his best game as a Laker,” Vogel said. “I think that is a good sign that he’s rising to the occasion on big games, and hopefully that bodes well for us come playoff time. But he was spectacular tonight. I think 25 and 13 with four turnovers and guarded Luka much of the night. A really great performance by Dennis.”

For his part, Schroder said he measures “best” games by the Lakers winning, so he wasn’t feeling the same as Vogel.

“If it’s my best game of the season, then I’m going out with a W,” Schroder said. “So, it wasn’t good enough.”

Lakers’ Dennis Schroder defends the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic on Thursday night in Dallas.

(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Schroder and Caldwell-Pope have been impressive in April. Schroder has averaged 15.4 points, 7.6 assists and shot 42.1% from three-point range in 11 games. Caldwell-Pope has averaged 13.9 points and shot 49.2% from three-point range in 11 games this month.

Both have been needed with Davis out — scoring four points in limited minutes in his return — and LeBron James still out with a right ankle injury.

“For me and Dennis, we’ve just got to stay aggressive, doing what we are doing now even when them guys come back,” Caldwell-Pope said. “It will be opportunities there for that to happen, so we’ve just got to take full advantage of it.”

Caldwell-Pope was nine-for-17 from the field, six-for-12 from three-point range. He scored 12 points in the third quarter, making three-of-six three-pointers.

It was the third straight game Caldwell-Pope has made at least five threes, the longest streak of his career.

“KCP has been playing this way for a few weeks now, and I love it,” Vogel said. “I’m super excited about what he’s done over the last few weeks, and I think that’s something that can carry over to when we’re whole with ‘Bron, AD and Drum [Andre Drummond] out there.”

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound Schroder spent plenty of time defending the 6-7, 230-pound Doncic. Though Doncic had 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, Schroder wanted to make sure Dallas’ guard worked for everything.

“When I’m on him, I just try to make it as hard as possible,” Schroder said. “Sometimes I get frustrated when I’m out, and he scores, or he gets to the line, and I can’t lie about that. I mean, it’s just me competing, being competitive. I want to be out there when he’s out there, because I just want to compete. Even if he scores 40, then I know he got his 40 points, it wasn’t easy for him. I just try to compete, that’s all.”




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