Australia's Dante Exum shoots down LA Lakers in NBA

Dante Exum has produced his best game since returning to the NBA, hitting a career-high seven three-pointers to guide the undermanned Dallas Mavericks past the LA Lakers 127-125.

The injury-prone Australian joined the Mavs this season after two years in Europe, but had initially been restricted to cameo appearances from the bench for the Western Conference heavyweights.

But injuries to Derrick Jones Jr, Kyrie Irving and countryman Josh Green have prompted Jason Kidd to start Exum for the past week, culminating in a fourth appearance in the starting five on Wednesday (AEDT).

At home, Exum pitched in a shooting masterclass down the stretch, hitting five fourth-quarter triples to pull the Lakers back after they closed a 15-point gap to lead by two at the final change.

The 28-year-old's 17 points amounted to half of Dallas's total in the 34-30 final term. 

When Exum made his final triple in the last minute, his seventh from nine attempts, the Mavs were up by six points and began closing in on victory.

Exum finished with 26 points, only two shy of equalling the best haul in his 282-game NBA career. He also had four rebounds to go with three assists.

After the match, the Australian said he had made the most of the Laker defence's decision to target other Mavericks, most notably superstar Luka Doncic.

"I'm a driver, but if they're going to stand three feet off me, I'm going to shoot it," he said.

"I like to get into the paint, I like to cause defences to collapse and kick out to the open guy, make the right play, that's my game.

"But obviously I'm going to do whatever the defence gives me."

Mavericks owner, businessman and media personality Mark Cuban, ran on to the court after the two-point win to embrace Exum.

Doncic was his busy self for the Mavericks with 33 points and 17 assists, his 13th double-double of the season, while LeBron James contributed 33 for the Lakers.

The win was the Mavericks' fourth in a row and snapped the Lakers' own four-game run, which sealed victory in the inaugural in-season tournament last week.

Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (left) and Chicago Bulls' Nikola Vucevic.
The Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (left) drives to the basket past Chicago Bulls' Nikola Vucevic.

Elsewhere, the Denver Nuggets overcame the ejection of two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to defeat the Chicago Bulls 114-106 on the road.

After missing a shot from close range just before half-time, the superstar Serbian yelled towards a match official as he made his way back up the court.

He was given a technical foul and ejected from the contest as the Chicago home crowd booed.

It marked the second time Jokic has been ejected this season, but in his absence Reggie Jackson stood up with 25 points and six assists.

Jayson Tatum had 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Boston Celtics remained unbeaten at home with a 120-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Celtics have won all 11 games on their home floor this season.  

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