Records: Lakers 29-9 (1st in West) Mavericks 25-12 (2nd in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 107.8 (T for 13th in league), Mavericks 107.8 (T for 13th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 101.3 (1st in league) Mavericks 104.6 (11th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Jose Juan Barea, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Drew Gooden
Want To Meet Kobe? Check out the contest we launched today.
Lakers injury update: Can I save time by just listing the people who are healthy?
Okay, here goes (I will update this closer to the game): Gasol is not playing but likely will on Friday. Kobe is playing although if you or I were in this much pain we’d stay in bed. Ron Artest’s finger and foot are hurting and is a game time decision. Sasha’s hamstring has him a game time decision. Adam Morrison may or may not be healthy enough to go tonight.
I would not be shocked if Phil asked Stu Latntz if he could play 10 minutes tonight.
Update to the Injury Update: From Phil pregame: Kobe will “give it go” after getting treatment all day. Artest is getting his finger taped up and will play. Sasha and Morrison also can play tonight, and Walton feels good enough the day after his first action to play even more minutes tonight.
Mavericks blogs: Very smart Mavs blog at The Two Man Game. And this is the only team where the owner has a blog, of course.
Keys to game: Last meeting, Gasol went out early with a hamstring issue and the bench stepped up big time. Bynum dominated Gooden, Sasha was hitting shots (as were Brown and Farmar), and most importantly the Lakers just ran the offense fantastically. They got good looks and buried shots from the midrange (like the Spurs last night) and they shot 58% from three. It was one of LA’s best games of the season. But also Dallas was the tired and banged-up team on the road; this time it is a sore Lakers team on the second night of a back-to-back. This game will look different.
The Lakers have an advantage inside with Drew, and they need to exploit it. This was something they did very well in the blowout win — Bynum got the ball in good position then took advantage. When the double came he recognized it and made the correct pass out (and, as mentioned, the Lakers knocked those shots down). The Mavericks will run a zone and the Lakers need to exploit the soft middle of it and not just launch jumpers over the top. The Lakers need to play like they did last meeting, especially with Dampier supposed to be out. More Bynum does not mean more isolation, run the offense and move without the ball.
The Lakers need to make Dirk work for his points — he is the best pure shooting big ever to play the game, so he is going to get some. The key is to make him work hard for them, and challenge him on the other end of the floor to wear him out.
It’s about pick-and-roll defense with the Mavs, they love it. They tend to run this from the wing (the guard gets the ball freed up off another screen) and their bigs can both roll or pop out. The Lakers need to disrupt the guard getting the ball and the bigs need to show out then recover.
The Lakers need to rebound well tonight, and they need to take care of the ball. What really gets the Dallas offense going is turnovers and the chance to get easy buckets in transition. Kidd isn’t young but he is still one of the best at running the break in the game. The Lakers have to limit those chances. Also, no team in the NBA loves the PUJIT like the Mavs, you have to watch for it.
Where you can watch: 5:30 p.m. start on KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles, and of course ESPN 710 radio.