Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Your (31-12) Los Angeles Lakers are in Dallas to face the (26-14) Mavericks for the first of three games this season.

It is both strange and sudden when discussing what a difference a few days, a few games and a few injuries can make.

There is a fine line between winning and losing in the NBA. About two weeks ago, the Mavericks were battling the Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference. Dallas was on a roll, losing only five times in 29 games.

In the month of January, the Mavericks and the Lakers have gone in different directions. The Mavericks are experiencing a season-worst six-game losing skid and free falling in the Western Conference standings. They’re seeking to avoid its longest losing streak in 12 years.

The Mavericks appeared to be in search of their identity while playing without Dirk Nowitzki. While Nowitzki healed from a sprained knee, the Mavericks won two of nine games, taking four double-digit losses. He’s  returned and their is still having difficulty scoring and winning.  Their scoring output has taken a nosedive from 99.5 points per game to an NBA-worst 89.4 points per game.

Facing the Purple and Gold is a difficult task for a Mavericks team attempting to come out of a tailspin or downward spiral. They’ve won nine out of ten games in the month of January. They notched their best win of the year by beating the Thunder 101-94 on Martin Luther King Day. The Thunder seems to bring out the best of the Lakers.

The Lakers have won eight of the last 10 games against Dallas. Despite the losses, the Mavericks are allowing 97.2 points per game. Kobe Bryant is averaging 16.3 points and has scored 20 or less in the last four games against the Mavericks. That will change tonight.

The Lakers know their formula for success. Establish both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post and provide them several touches and opportunities to determine the outcome of this game. Gasol is 14 points shy of 13,000 for his career. The Lakers will stick to the formula and Gasol will surpass 14 points before the end of the third quarter. The Lakers need to come out and play energetic, aggressive and motivated on both ends of the court.

The Lakers need to communicate of defense, play solid team defense, and get back in transition to avoid allowing fast break points. They need to take care of the ball and eliminate turnovers and the high number of points surrendered off of them.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Mavericks:
J. Kidd, D. Stevenson, S. Marion, D. Nowitski, T. Chandler

Tip-off: 6:00 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: ESPN & KCAL (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Dallas: ESPN & KTXA 21 (Mark Followill & Brad Davis)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Dallas: ESPN 103.3 (Bob Ortegal & Chuck Cooperstein)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
  • Lamar Odom (Sore Left Shoulder) Probable
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out

Mavericks:

  • SF Caron Butler (Ruptured Patellar Tendon, Right Knee) Out
  • C Tyson Chandler (Flu) Day-to-Day
  • SF Sasha Pavlovic (Broken Nose) Day-to-Day
  • Dirk Nowitzki (Knee) Day-to-Day
  • kobefinalmvp2011

    lakers will run through this team is they play there defence rite

  • lakerville213

    AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO WANTS THEO 2 COME BACK?

  • Zeki Kayiran

    Do not forget Dallas’ three other players-the Zebras.

    They have not given Kobe any decents calls forever, and Drew gets screwed big time.

    It was as usual disgusting Monday night (OKC game) where Drew could not get a call to save his life. 22 minutes, no free throws and 5 fouls. I am not saying that he does not foul, a couple of them were legit, but the other three were totally bogus.

    Dick Bavetta, John Gobel and Scott Wall tried their best. No free throws for Drew who gets pounded every time he goes up for a shot. This is almost as bad as what they did to Kareem and Shaq.

    By the way, Pau almost got his arm clawed off right in front of these three clowns and did not get a call.

    Good job NBA, keep degrading the quality of the game by allowing the Zebras get away with this.

    • 242LakerFan

      Same crap for years now. Nothing’s gonna change. They’ve adapted to it well recently as I recall, to the tune of three trips to the Big Show and two Chips.
      I gave up bitching about it. Just accept it and move on.

  • Guildtank

    I will be severely disappointed if we don’t win by more than 10 against yjis undermanned team

    • Guildtank

      I AM fucking disappointed :( Inconsistent team :(

  • WHEELCHAIRS R US

    WE CAN KEEP THEO AROUND AS A BACK UP UNTIL DWIGHT GETS HERE! THEN BYNUM CAN BE THE BACK UP! (THINK LAMAR ODOM DREW) LAKERS TICKETS FOR ANY GAME! –> http://bit.ly/a6iLTr

  • juanv

    Doesn’t look good lakers defense looks horrible

  • juanv

    Maybe it is true lakers don’t look good against teams with winning records this dallas team has no business beating the lakers this sorry ass team had lost six in a row freakin jkidd looked like ray allen nobody guarding this guy.

  • Guildtank

    wtf?!!!!!!!

  • Laker4Life

    This was probably the worst defense I have ever seen in a basketball game. I mean the mavs were getting wide open shots the whole 48 minutes. This game made me sick. This reminded me of the phoenix game at staples where the suns were making their 3’s the whole game. That is what the mavs did especially kidd and terry. It was so bad that I could not take it anymore.

  • Cecilb

    We must TRADE Ga-SOFT!!! We are not tough nor athletic enough to disguise his weakness this year, and his value is at an all-time high. Him and Artest for Loul Deng and Joakim Noah.

  • Cecilb

    …..or Ga-SOFT, and Blake for Devin Harris, Lopez, and Favors.

  • j.crack

    LOL at the Lakers shooting 55% & still getting their ass kicked. Nice defense guys!!! Keep it up & Denver will drop 120 on Friday & win by 20. I’m actually looking forward to Phil retiring. Its obvious he doesnt practice defense in the regular season & his rotations are garbage. Atleast Luke has high basketball IQ hahaha. No way Lakers are getting 1st seed in the West so hopefully they end up with 2nd.

  • Lakers_The_Truth

    DAMED!
    We play well in the first half to sleep in the second WTF.
    Man, they like to make things hard on themselves.
    Tired of losing to top teams. Wake up biatches

    • Guildtank

      what hurts more is that Mavericks mius Butler is not even a ‘top team’…… :(

  • Jeezy like to smoke

    My beef with phil is why the fuck was luke in the Game taking shots like he Kobe?
    Why Pau sat out basically the half the 4th he was Bullying Dirk the whole time.

    and Please Shannon Slow THE FUCK DOWN