Dallas Mavericks Take on Lakers in LA

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 10: Dirk Nowitzki
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 10: Dirk Nowitzki /

The Mavs will play their first game since the All-Star break Friday night as they take on the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mavericks death march towards the bottom of the NBA standings will resume tonight after some time off during the All-Star break. The team has had an extremely turbulent week after owner Mark Cuban was fined for comments detrimental to the league and the team is being investigated for workplace misconduct.

The Mavs and Lakers have had many great games over the years. While the Lakers still have an outside shot at a playoff berth, the Mavericks are approaching this game with the hopes of getting their youngsters on the court as much as possible.

The biggest storyline in this game undoubtedly will be the matchup between rookies Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonzo Ball. Ball was picked second overall in this past year’s draft, while Smith was picked seven slots behind him at number nine.

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The Mavs will be facing Ball in his first game returning from injury. The rookie point guard has missed the last fifteen games with a sprained MCL. He will return tonight to play the Mavs on a minutes restriction.

As they currently sit at fourteenth in the Western Conference standings, the Mavericks are continuing to position themselves to receive as many lottery balls as possible once the season ends.

Owner Mark Cuban admitted as much, saying losing was the team’s “best option.” The Mavs have seemed to accomplish this task, as they will in all likelihood be in position to receive one of the top three picks in the upcoming draft.

The Mavs also have an opportunity tonight to get a look at a potential free agent target for this coming offseason. Power forward Julius Randle will be a free agent at season’s end, and received trade interest from the Mavs as the trade deadline neared.

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The Mavs will face off with the Lakers tonight at 9:30 central time.