Dallas Mavericks: Why matchup vs. Lakers is most important of the season

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers and spoiled Anthony Davis’ return on Thursday night. Luka Doncic dropped 30 points to lift the Mavs into a tie for sixth in the Western Conference. The Blazers hold the tiebreaker, but Dallas is right there to avoid the play-in tournament.

The Mavericks take on the Lakers for the second straight game on Saturday evening at the American Airlines Center. It is an important contest with plenty of playoff implications for both teams. Will Luka lift the Mavs again or do the Lakers force a split?

Here is a closer look at how to watch, and why it is the most important game of the season for the Mavericks.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers 2: How to watch

Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT or 8:30 p.m. ET

How to watch: ABC (national), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles market)

Watch online: Watch ESPN (national)

Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers injury updates

Mavs fans will be watching the status of Kristaps Porzingis closely. The Unicorn suffered an ankle sprain on Thursday night. Both he and Maxi Kleber (back) are listed as questionable for the April 24 matchup against the Lakers. Dallas also ruled out Tyrell Terry (personal) on the NBA’s official injury report.

The Lakers have eight players on the report. LeBron James (ankle) and Jared Dudley (knee) were both ruled out. Marc Gasol (finger) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle) are questionable for Saturday’s game. Los Angeles listed Anthony Davis (calf), Andre Drummond (toe), Markieff Morris (ankle), and Dennis Schroder (foot) as probable to face the Mavs.

Fans should be sure to check Twitter before tipoff for updates and any late-breaking injury information.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers storyline to follow: Why it is most important game

Saturday’s game on ABC is the most important one of the season for the Mavs. They do not want to be part of the play-in tournament. Dallas has the second-easiest remaining schedule and the opportunity to win the season series over the defending champions. Luka Doncic and company will trail the Lakers by just 1.5 games for fifth in the Western Conference with a win Saturday.

The Mavericks could close that gap by taking care of business against lesser teams the rest of the season. Moving into the top five would improve their chances of winning their first-round series for the first time since 2011. It also vastly increases Dallas odds of avoiding the play-in because two teams will be within striking distance. The chances are on the table, but they need a win over the Lakers on April 24 to make it happen.

Fans will not want to miss Saturday’s game at the American Airlines Center. Expect Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks to come out strong and be hungry to win the season series from the Los Angeles Lakers. It will be no easy task, especially with Anthony Davis back in the lineup. There should be plenty of excitement, so do not miss a second of the action on Saturday night.

Next. Does it matter if Doncic and Porzingis are close?