The (29-9) Los Angeles Lakers conclude their Texas two-step in Dallas to face the (25-12) Mavericks for the third time this season.
The Lakers lost to the Spurs and are now looking to snap a four game road losing streak. Some people in the media have decided to start the negative talk about the Lakers; that the team is in trouble as well as all of the other faults of the team. It has gotten to the point in some circles that some people have to be talked off of the ledge.
True Lakers fans and true NBA fans realize that an NBA season isn’t a sprint to the finish, it is a marathon. A road that is filled with pot holes, roadblocks, injuries, set backs and other obstacles. Veteran teams like the Lakers with a tremendous amount of experience and leadership have been there before can and will endure.
The fact of the matter is that the Lakers lost a game without Pau Gasol, a banged up Kobe Bryant not finishing the game, but it counts as only one loss. There were some negative things that came out of that loss, but there were some positives such as Andrew Bynum’s performance (23 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocked shots) almost matching Tim Duncan’s numbers. Kobe Bryant knocking down seven of his ten shots before exiting early, and Lamar Odom’s 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Lakers have split the two games with the Mavericks this year. However, the last game against Dallas was an outstanding 35-point beat down; the Lakers shot 63% from the field, 58% from behind the arc, but it really wasn’t a true representation of that team. The Lakers at home put together a great effort and caught the Mavericks on an off night. Tonight’s game will be tougher. Dallas does a good job of doubling and rotating defensively, the Lakers have to use excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to out-work this team.
Los Angeles has to make defense their calling card come out and play their game. The excuses are there of course, the teams on the road, the second of back-to-back games and several players on the team are banged up. If the Lakers take the court with any of these thoughts they’ll lose. The Lakers leader Kobe Bryant won’t allow the team to fall into this trap.
The Lakers need to control the tempo, be physical with this team and play aggressive on both ends of the court. Establish Andrew Bynum in the painted area and allow him to go to work. It would be to the Lakers advantage to use all of options in the post Kobe, Ron Artest & Lamar Odom against this team. Los Angeles has to contain both Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and as well as limit their impact on the game.
The Mavericks bench will have an impact on this game, but the real question is; can the Lakers bench put on a repeat performance and out score or at least match the production of the Dallas reserves?
Tip-off: 5:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Dallas: KTXA 21 (Mark Followill & Brad Davis)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Dallas: ESPN 103.3 (Bob Ortegal & Chuck Cooperstein)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring) Out
- Luke Walton (Back)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture of his Right Index Finger)
- Ron Artest (Sprained Index Finger)
- PF Tim Thomas (Achilles)
- C Erik Dampier (Knee)
- SF Josh Howard (Thigh)
- PF Drew Gooden (Finger)