NBA

Lakers cough up 19-point second-half lead before surviving to beat Mavericks

LOS ANGELES — Disaster averted. Barely.

LeBron James made one of two free throws with 2.1 seconds left Wednesday night as the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Dallas Mavericks 114-113 after nearly blowing a 19-point lead in the second half.

The defeat would have been painful for the Lakers, who improved to 3-5 but continue to struggle during James’ inaugural season with the team.

James, who missed two free throws late in overtime of a loss to the San Antonio Spurs last week, missed his first free throw with the score tied 113-113. With the tension cresting at Staples Center, James hit his second free throw and Dallas’ J.J. Barea missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Dallas was on a 15-2 run before the free throw by James, who had a game-high 29 points, six assists and five rebounds.

The Lakers took a 19-point lead at 87-69 when Lonzo Ball made a 3-pointer with 4:40 left to play in the third quarter. Los Angeles led by 14 with 4:16 left in the fourth.

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