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LeBron James influence benefit mark as Lakers top Mavericks

LeBron James became the ninth NBA player to record at least 9,000 career assists while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-95 win against the Dallas Mavericks.

James had 13 points, 13 assists and six rebounds in the triumph Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Lakers star Anthony Davis had a game-high 23 points, in addition to nine rebounds and four assists.

“My teammates and coaching staff trust me to play the point and run the show,” James told reporters. “It’s my job to take care of the ball, put guys in position to be successful, get them the ball on time and on target.”

Luka Doncic paced the Mavericks with 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds, but had six turnovers in the loss.

Los Angeles’ largest lead was 17 points halfway through the third quarter. The Lakers rarely trailed during the win. The Lakers (26-4) had lost four of their last five games entering the matchup, but are now on a two-game winning streak. The Mavericks (21-11) were on a two-game winning streak, before suffering the loss.

Davis paced the Lakers to an early 25-19 edge with seven points in the first quarter. The Lakers held a 54-43 halftime advantage after using a 12-2 run to take control of the game halfway through the second quarter. The Lakers pushed their lead to 84-69 entering the fourth quarter, before being outscored 26-24 in the final frame.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a season-high 19 points off the bench for the Lakers. Dwight Howard chipped in 15 points for Los Angeles.

James joined NBA all-time assist leader John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Mark Jackson, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robinson, Chris Paul and Isiah Thomas in reaching the 9,000 assists mark. He needs 63 assists to move past Thomas for No. 8 all-time.

James has 29 assists and three turnovers in his last two games.

“His pace the last two nights has been outstanding,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “In the open court, but also in the half-court. He’s not looking to settle.”

The Mavericks battle the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7 p.m. EST Tuesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The Lakers host the Phoenix Suns at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Staples Center.

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