Feb 22, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) in action against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Preview: LA Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks

The Lakers are coming off a brutal road loss which saw them squander a 12 point fourth quarter lead in Houston and go down to the Goran Dragic-led Rockets, starting in place of the injured Kyle Lowry. Kobe did the best he could with Andrew Bynum’s 3rd quarter ejection, but it wasn’t enough. Rest assured Bynum got an earful from Bryant in the lockerrom, telling him those antics have to stop if they want to put a halt to their road woes and a hot Dallas Mavericks team.

Did I mention the hot shooting of Dirk Nowitzki as of late? Averaging 28.5 ppg in his last four, the German national is straight killing it. With shades of last seasons remarkable playoff run in the Mavs last two victories (vs. San Antonio & Denver), they also moved up in the West standings on an idle Tuesday with Memphis losing to Sacramento. They currently occupy the 5th seed heading into tonight’s matchup with the 3rd seed Lakers.  Lamar Odom, if you’re mind is still in that bald head of yours, this is exactly the game that you get jacked up for. Playing your former teammates in your NEW house. If you continue to just lazily go through the motions, even they will lose respect for you. Everyone’s wondering where the activity in your play has gone. If you left it in LA, tell Kobe you forgot it when you left, I’m sure he’s more than willing to return the swagger to it’s rightful owner.

The Mavericks may be one of the only teams in the league that can counteract the Lakers length in the middle. They can throw big bodies at Bynum and Gasol. They have Mahinmi, Haywood, Odom, Dirk – all 7 footers who can defend on the block and make the Lakers bigs work on the defensive end as well. Also, the Lakers are still learning on the fly after acquiring Ramon Sessions to run the PG position, however the Mavs are beginning to hit their stride at the right time. This is a huge matchup because any small losing streak at this point in the season can see you fall from 3rd to 8th in the West. The Mavericks are moving up. Will they continue that trend tonight? Will they contribute to the season-long Lakers ineptitude on the road (9-15)? The Mavs are percentage points away from the 4 seed as they currently stand at 27-20 while the LA Clippers are 26-19, however they both only sit 1.5 game behind the Lakers. A win tonight would allow the Mavs to creep closer and closer to their goal of a home court first round playoff series. Stay tuned for Postgame report, right here at The Smoking Cuban…

Tags: DirkNowitzki KobeBryant LamarOdom LosAngelesLakers

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