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.
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
- Los Angeles: ESPN & KCAL (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Dallas: ESPN & KTXA 21 (Mark Followill & Brad Davis)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Dallas: ESPN 103.3 (Bob Ortegal & Chuck Cooperstein)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Lamar Odom (Sore Left Shoulder) Probable
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- 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