Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error One of the more popular people in Los Angeles took his dream job fielding no expectations on how short or long his rebuilding project would take.With Luke Walton guiding the Lakers to their best start in three years, however, he liked the early returns on his players’ work ethic, team mindset and ability to collect some upset victories. Nonetheless, Walton still held concerns, mindful that his foundation has not yet had time for the cement to dry.Hence, the Lakers’ 109-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at Staples Center should not be that surprising. Walton found the team “played a little soft in the first half.” Lakers forward Julius Randle decried the team “didn’t have a killer instinct.” In other words, the Lakers (4-4) snapped a three-game winning streak and an unbeaten mark at home because of usual growing pains attributed to young teams.“We have to forget about it,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said. “The wins that we got, we talked about it that day, got over it and prepared for the next one. It’s the same thing with these losses. If we lose, get over it and prepare the best way you can for the next one.” “That’s a very well-coached and disciplined team that runs sets every time they’re down court,” Walton said. “It’s definitely harder to guard.”Meanwhile, the Lakers also took a step back offensively after previously ranking third overall in total points per game (110.3) and featuring five different players that have led the team in scoring.Jordan Clarkson (22 points), Nick Young (20 ), Lou Williams (15 points), Randle (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Russell (12 points, seven assists, five rebounds) still gave the Lakers some balanced offense. But Walton found the Lakers’ ball movement stopped against Dallas’ zone defense. Young faded after scoring 13 points in the first quarter. Russell also went scoreless in the first half and took only one shot, though he attributed that more to defensive coverages.“If they’re open, I try to make that pass,” Russell said. “If not, I try to attack.”The Lakers will try to do the same thing, intent on making Walton happy with their progress despite their latest hiccup. Despite the Mavericks (2-5) nursing key injuries to Deron Williams (left calf strain), Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) and Devin Harris (right toe strain), Walton considered Dallas “more dangerous for the short term” because the depleted rotation provided a “great opportunity for players that are hungry to play and earn minutes to prove they should be getting in the rotation.”Walton still remembered how the Lakers lost Game 6 in their first-round matchup against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 playoffs despite Raja Bell’s one-game suspension. It still stayed fresh in his mind that the Lakers upset the Golden State Warriors last year when he served as an assistant there while Kobe Bryant sat out with an injury.This time, the Mavericks gave the Lakers problems by exposing something still prevalent during their recent progress. The Lakers allowed five players to crack double-figures, including Harrison Barnes (31 points), Seth Curry (22 points), Justin Anderson (11 points) and Dwight Powell (10 points). The Lakers committed 16 turnovers. And the Lakers decried the absence of forward Larry Nance Jr. because of a concussion.“He does all the little things and we could’ve used that tonight,” Randle said. “We can definitely take that for granted.”Nonetheless, those developments exposed the Lakers’ early weaknesses thus far. They entered Tuesday’s game allowing 108 points per contest and ranking last in the NBA in turnovers (18).