The Dallas Mavericks (45-31) must be feeling great coming off a road victory to the Los Angeles Clippers and closing at the end of the game. They now take on the really bad, I mean really bad, Los Angeles Lakers (25-50). To make matters worse for the Lakers on top of all the injuries they have sustained neither Paul Gasol nor Chris Kaman will be active. The Lakers sit at second to last place in the West and have only two roles to play for, either spoiler or lose for a higher draft pick. While they may try to play spoiler tonight, the Mavs just have superior talent.
The Game At Hand:
The Mavericks took the crucial game last night, but let’s be honest…each game is at this point. They must carry the momentum from last night into tonight’s game and do everything possible to prevent any letdown against the Lakers. Sunday night, the Lakers dealt a huge blow to a Phoenix Suns team who is also doing battle in the deep Western Conference race. I’ve always had the mentality that it’s never a good thing to play a team that has nothing to lose, and that is what they will be dealing with the next couple of games.
The Lakers have had one of the more disastrous seasons in franchise history, and have been dealt one injury after the next. The Mavericks should have no problem taking this Lakers team down, despite playing less than 24 hours ago. They are far more talented and well rounded than the Lakers, and have no serious injuries to boot.
At A Glance:
– This marks the third and final meeting this season; Mavericks lead 2-0.
– The Mavericks sit alone in the 7th spot in the West, where they would be taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder
– The Suns have a tough matchup tonight at Portland, while the Grizzlies will be hosting the Nuggets.
Lakers health news for game v Mavs tonight (930, FSSW). Out: Gasol, Kaman, X Henry, Farmar & Kobe. Nash will play, perhaps last time this yr
— Mark Followill (@MFollowill) April 4, 2014
Keys To The Game:
1. Mavs Perimeter Defense
Really the only chance the Lakers have tonight against the Mavs is if one of their streaky shooters just absolutely catches fire. Yes, I am referring to Nick “Swaggy P” Young. The Mavs cannot give him early open looks and let him shoot with confidence for the rest of the game. We’ve all seen those games where if just a little defense is applied to Young, he will turn the ball over or force up horrible shots, giving the Lakers almost no chance at a victory. The Mavs will also need to contain Jodie Meeks, who is always liable to have a good game. Closing out on shooters and not giving open looks should result in a Mavs victory.
2. Wright and Dalembert
Last night against the Clippers both Brandan Wright and Samuel Dalembert showed that they can actually make a real impact on both sides of the ball. Posted earlier were Wright’s two highlight plays, the huge dunk over Griffin and block on Dudley. Although the highlights are great, it was his all around game on both sides of the floor that impressed me. Dalembert also played a great game holding his own against Deandre Jordan. Although the Lakers don’t have Kaman nor Gasol, Jordan Hill is no slouch either. Getting him off the offensive glass will be an important key for the Mavs tonight.
Matchup of the Night:
Dirk Nowitzki vs Steve Nash
Nowitzki will get maybe one of his last opportunities to square off against his long time friend, Steve Nash tonight. Nash has been dealing with injuries ever since his final year with Phoenix, and has never been able to get into any sort of groove in L.A. While these two will certainly be 1st Ballot Hall of Fame players one day, the impact each one of them are having on their team are drastically different. Dirk Nowitzki, at age 35 is having one of his best all around seasons, where Nash, 40, is just trying to find a way to stay on the court and out of a suit. It will be fun to watch these two square off one more time, but coming off of yet another injury and only averaging 7 points per game, Nash shouldn’t figure to make much of an impact.
“We’ve had a tough trip, but there were a lot of opportunities for a lot of our guys.” – Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni
“You know, every game on this road trip is tough, because we’ve got a lot of teams we don’t match up well with. Regardless of their records, we’re still going to have battles out there. Just because a team doesn’t have a winning record, they still are capable of beating you. We’ve got to understand that, and we know there is no overlooking anybody. We’ve got to go out here and get ready for this game.” – Shawn Marion
When and Where:
Tip-off at Staples Center tonight is at 9:30 p.m. CST. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (49-27) | Next 3 – PHO, NOP & SAC
6. Golden State (46-29) | Next 3 – SAC, UTA, & DEN
7. Dallas Mavericks (45-31) | Next 3 – @LAL, @SAC & @UTA
8. Memphis Grizzlies (44-31) | Next 3 – DEN, @SAS & MIA
9. Phoenix Suns (44-31) | Next 3 – @POR, OKC & @NO
Quotes via Lakers.com and Mavs.com
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