Preview: Mavericks’ Race for the Playoffs Continues vs the Lakers


Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an enthralling, almost disaster-ridden win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks ( 45-31) are hopping “back in the saddle” again tonight as they continue their 4 game road trip against the lowly Los Angeles Lakers. The game will be called by the usual cast of Mark Followill and Derek Harper on Fox Sports Southwest at 9:30 pm central time. Darn you west coast with your wacky time zone messing up all of our sleep schedules on back to back nights, darn you.

This will be the third meeting of the season between these two squads, with your Dallas Mavericks winning both contests by an average of 16 points per game.  In the previous two matchups with LA, the Mavs dominated throughout.

The November 5th game in Dallas, had former Maverick and current Laker old man Steve Nash returning to the AAC to battle it out with his old running mate, Dirk Nowitzki. Nash’s effort and intensity that night was similar to his ability to stay in the lineup all season—missing. He wound up going 2-8 from the field, while 5 points and 4 dimes. Nick Young, aka “Swaggy P, ” led the Lakeshow in scoring with 21 points on 8-12 shooting. The Mavericks never trailed, led by 20 late in the first half and pushed the lead to 26 early in the second half. It was a night, foreshadowing things to come throughout the season for Monta Ellis, in which he put up 30 points on 11-14 shooting. Jae Crowder also chipped in 15 points en route to a 123-104 Mavs blowout.

The two met again in a January 7th game with the Mavs coming out on top once again by a score of 110-97. Monta juxtaposed this game with the Nov. 5th game by only scoring 6 points through the first 3 quarters, but then went on to explode and elevate the Mavs towards a win with a 10 point in 2 minutes outburst during the fourth quarter. Dirk carried the Mavs throughout the nigh with a total of 27 points on 12-20 from the floor.. The Lakers high scorer was shooting guard Jodie Meeks, Kobe Bryant‘s fill-in, as he went for 24 points in 41 minutes. The Lakers shot 42% from the field while the Mavs shot an efficient 53% on the night. You have to give the Lakers and Mike D’antoni a break on this one, however, as they only suited up 8 guys that night. Xavier Henry, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar all missed the game after getting bit by the injury bug, but Chris Kaman, former member of the Dallas Mavericks frontcourt along with his fellow countryman Dirk Nowizki, was listed as a DNP-CD.

The Mavs will head into the game tonight at Staples currently ranked 7th in the disgustingly difficult Western Conference. They are .5 games ahead of both the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns, who play the Denver Nuggets and suddenly hot Portland Trailblazers respectively, but both Memphis and Phoenix will obviously have a chance to make up some ground by nights end. So, what I’m basically saying is, the Mavs REALLY have to win tonight. They desperately need to sweep the next 3 games, against LA, Sacramento, and Utah, literally the 3 worst teams in the western conference. All Mavs game nights from here on out are must-wins.

Things the Mavs Need to Happen:

1. Limit Jodie Meeks scoring. As we saw last month against the Thunder, Jodie Meeks can get going and on fire, as he exploded for 42 points, albeit against the sometimes lackluster Thunder defense. Just don’t let him get into a flow early and the Mavs should be okay.

2. Put them away early, so that the Big German guy who is sorta good at basketball can get some rest. It would be nice to see Dirk not log heavy minutes against the Lakers, especially because from here on out it’s a 6 game race to the finish for your Dallas Mavericks.

3. Memphis and Phoenix need to lose.

Lakers Strengths: Um, Pau Gasol might play, so I guess that’s a good sign for them. But besides that…

Lakers Weaknesses: Anything related to competing against other NBA players.

Paul Gasol (vertigo), Steve Nash (back, ankle), Xavier Henry (knee),Chris Kaman (calf), Jordan Farmar (groin) and Kobe Bryant (knee) are either game-time decisions or out altogether. The Mavs are fortunate enough this late in the season to be injury-free.


Look for a Mavs win if…

They remember that they have players named Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Vince Carter, and the current Laker superstar shooting guard is one Jodie Meeks. Oh, and Carlisle can out coach Mike D’antoni any day of the week.

Dirk is a GOAT: The Tall Baller from the G, Dirk Nowitzki, is only 18 points away from moving past NBA legend Dominique Wilkins(26,668) to 11th on the all-time scoring list. Greatness man, just greatness.

Lastly, GO MAVS!