My apologies for the bare bones preview today, folks. A lot going on outside of the site that required my attention. Thanks for understanding.
The Lakers conclude their 5 game road trip in Dallas on Friday night, hoping to bounce back from three straight losses. The team now sits at only 1-7, last place in the West (or, technically, tied for last place with the Pelicans).
The last game, a loss to the Magic, offered some bright spots even though it was a last second defeat at the buzzer. The game was close throughout, several of the team’s young players had good games, and rookie D’Angelo Russell closed out the game — gaining good experience in the process.
The Lakers can only hope for similar results tonight. They will have Kobe back in the lineup, however, to help (maybe?) with that process. After sitting out the last two games (Heat, Magic), Kobe returns from his sore back to his starting spot at small forward. We will see if he eases his way back into the lineup or falls right back into his team high 29 usage rate. I think everyone would benefit if he took the former approach, but that’s a conversation for another day.
As for the opponent, the Lakers are familiar with the Mavs having already faced (and lost to) them earlier in the year. Dirk is having a throwback year, playing great basketball and shooting the lights out. The Mavs are still dealing with key players being banged up, but as Chandler Parsons and Wes Matthews get healthier, this team will look to try and get back to the playoffs and try to make some noise that they have been unable to make in recent seasons.
For them, getting there means winning games like this one agains an inferior opponent. For the Lakers, it would simply be good to get another win. A loss wouldn’t be the end of the world, but a 1-8 record against the schedule the team has had isn’t very good, that’s for sure.
Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.