Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers Preview

January 7, 2014 @ 7:30 CT

The 8th place Dallas Mavericks (19-15) welcome the injury plagued and Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers (14-20) in their first game of a back to back.

After winning 3 straight games on the road, the Mavericks now find themselves on a 2 game losing streak after losing to the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks at home.

With Dirk Nowitzki recent comments questioning the Mavericks ability to be a playoff team,

The way we let those games slip away, I don’t think we’re a playoff team. We’ve got to win those games. We’ve got to find a way to get those stops and protect the home court

The Mavericks have lost 4 straight at home, so if any game against a poor team is a must win, it would be this one.

The Opponent 

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a 137-115 beating against the Denver Nuggets.  Pau Gasol, who has been in trade rumors involving former Lakers’ center Andrew Bynum, finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers are 6-10 away from LA and have lost 3 straight road games.

With Kobe Bryant out again, the Lakers will count on Gasol to be their focal point on offense. On the season he is averaging 15.6 points and 9.5 rebounds, but is shooting a career low 44.9% from the field.

Kendall Marshall, a draft target for the Mavericks last season, is now starting for the Lakers with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar all out with injuries. Marshall has put up 14.5 points, 16 assists, and 6 rebounds in his last 2 games as a starter.

Nick Young leads the Lakers in scoring with 16.6 points per game.

Jodie Meeks (13.3 pts), Wesley Johnson (7.6 pts), Jordan Hill (9.4p pts, 7.7 reb), and former Mavericks’ center Chris Kaman (8.2 pts, 5.8 rebs) have all had big games and moments for the Lakers.

The Lakers average 99.7 points per game as a team, while allowing the third most points in the league at 104.2 points.

The Lakers (11) rank in the upper half of the league along with the Mavericks (8) in 3-pt shooting at 36.5%. The Mavs shoot 37.1% from 3. Lakers also rank 4th in 3s shot at 25.2 per game.

Lakes also force the second to lowest turnovers per game at 12.9.

Emphasis

Don’t allow the Lakers to get hot. With all the injuries the Lakers’ roster has seen, they have still shown flashes to compete and even win games against tough and quality teams. With wins against the Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, and Memphis Grizzlies to show for.

Meeks (39.1%), Young (36%), and  Johnson (36%) have shown the ability to knock down the 3-ball. The Mavericks must be able to guard Gasol one on one and force the perimeter players of the Lakers to create their own looks and shots.

Though the Lakers don’t rank amongst the league leaders in offensive rebounds, as they grab  just 10 per game, the Mavs must not allow Hill (3 Orebs per game) and the other Lakers’ bigs to control the glass and get second chance opportunities.

The Mavs must make Marshall a scorer. When he came into the league there was no doubt he had the ability to pass. The Mavs must make sure he isn’t racking up assists as he has the last 2 games. Even though in 6 games he’s shooting 52.9% from the field, the Mavs must test his ability to hit shots (shot 3-10 against the Nuggets). Most likely if he’s racking up assists at a high rate, it means the defense is allowing him to penetrate and not able to recover to either the shooters or the rollers.

Force the Lakers to defend. The Lakers lack any defensive stoppers at any position of the floor. In their last 8 games (1-7) they have allowed 109.6 points to their opposition.

Notes

Bryant, in 57 career games against the Mavericks has averaged 24.4 points.

In 36 career games Nash has averaged 14.4 points and 8.9 assists against the Mavericks.

Nowitzki holds averages of 22 points and 10.2 rebounds (most against any team) in 53 games.

The Mavericks won the first meeting of the season 123-104.

Young led the Lakers with 21 points on 8-12 shooting.

Gasol, who was battling a flu, finished with just 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Monta Ellis probably had one of his best games of the season against the Lakers, as he finished with 30 points (11-14 shooting), 9 assists, and only 1 turnover. On the season Ellis is averaging 20 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.4 turnovers per game.

The Mavericks won the rebounding battle 50-35, shot 52.1% from the field, had 34 assists to only 12 turnovers.

Samuel Dalembert was once again disciplined by the team for being late to practice. He did not play against the Knicks, and we’ll have to see what his role will be this game.

Nowitzki is only putting up 17 points and shooting 45.2% from the field since the New Year (3 games) compared to his 20.9 points on 48.9% shooting on the season.

Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Xavier Henry all played in the first game and will not be active.

Shawne Williams was waived today by the Lakers to avoid guaranteeing his contract for the season.

Barring any changes, the Lakers will have only 9 active players.

 

Injuries

Dal: Devin Harris (Out-Toe), Shawn Marion (TBD-Ankle)

LAL: Kobe Bryant (Out-Knee), Steve Nash (Out-Knee/Back), Xavier Henry (Out-Knee), Steve Blake (Out-Elbow), Jordan Farmar (Out-Hamstring)

This is a game the Mavericks should win. The Mavericks desperately need a home win after losing their last 4. The Lakers are coming in with a depleted roster and a bad loss

With the San Antonio Spurs waiting for the Mavericks, this home is needed, or the Mavericks can find their grasps on a playoff spot slipping.

Who Will Win This Game?

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Tags: Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki Los Angeles Lakers

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