The Dallas Mavericks have already played some great games, but the Los Angeles Lakers definitely present the most difficult challenge in this very early stage of the season.
Everyone knew that the Los Angeles Lakers were going to be a very good team this year. Even though their roster is a little thin outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, you still have two of the top 10 players in the league right there. The Dallas Mavericks will have to be ready to slow down two of the best offensive players in the NBA.
With the Mavs constantly throwing out new starting lineups, there is a good chance we see another new first five for the matchup with the Lakers. L.A. has had the same starting lineup in each of their first four games: Avery Bradley, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee.
Kyle Kuzma will be available for the Lakers for the first time this season, but I don’t expect him to break into the starting lineup, especially not in his first game back. Kuzma does add a nice player to the Lakers bench, though, which will present a new challenge for Dallas.
I am not sure who will start for Dallas, but if I were to guess, I would say: Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber. The Mavs will want to try and matchup their best wing defender (Dorian) on LeBron. Dwight Powell may be the more likely starter, but Maxi is the better defender and AD is not someone to take lightly.
Dallas will need to focus on a few things in particular with this game. Limiting second chances is a big one, as the Mavs have struggled with giving up offensive rebounds a lot lately. This Lakers team does not need any extra chances to score on the Mavs.
Aside from that, the Mavs will need to set the pace of the game. If the Lakers get to run the court the way they want to, things could go south in a hurry, but if Dallas works hard to set the pace, there is no reason to believe that they can’t win this game. The Lakers may have the better pair of stars, but it is hard to argue that the Mavs don’t have the more efficient and effective bench.
The Mavs and Lakers will be tipping off later than usual as the game begins at 8:30pm central time. It will be televised on ESPN and the game will be in celebration of Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.