Eddy Curry will start at center for our Dallas Mavericks in the 2012-2013 season opener against the newly-bolstered Los Angeles Lakers. Not one person saw that news coming this time last week. Not even Curry himself knew he’d go from Spurs camp to waiver wire to Mavs’ starting center in a matter of days.
“I talked to them (Mavs) this summer, so I knew there was some interest there,” Curry said in an interview with DallasBasketball.com.
Shawn Marion represents the only starter from last season. He will be joined by the aforementioned Curry and rookie Jae Crowder in the front court.California natives Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo formulate the much younger and quicker backcourt for the Mavs.
The German duo of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and center Chris Kaman (calf) were thought to be the opening night starters, but remain sidelined as the regular season gets underway. While Nowitzki stayed in Dallas to rehab, Kaman traveled with the team on its two-game road trip in Los Angeles Tuesday and Utah on Wednesday night. He’s not expected to play.
The Lakers open the year with a new starting center of their own. His name is Dwight Howard. Howard finally switched teams after the extensive, overly-documented “Dwightmare” concluded with the newly-managed Orlando Magic trading its franchise center in a 4-team blockbuster.
As Kobe Bryant, who’s questionable for tonight’s opener (foot), enters his 17th season he will have one of his best supporting casts in recent years. In very Laker-like fashion they somehow acquired Howard without losing the versatile 7-foot Pau Gasol. Bryant’s new backcourt pal is two-time league MVP Steve Nash. Metta World Peace completes the star-studded lineup.
“From our perspective, there’s no rush,” Nash said. “If he’s ready to go (Tuesday), great. But if he’s not, he’s not. I think we’ve got a lot of ballgames to play this year and there’s no point in causing something to linger at this stage of the season.”
It stills remains to be seen how the new Lakers pieces fit together on the floor as games and titles are not won on paper, but on the court.
The Mavericks will need a strong, balanced effort across the board tonight without Nowitzki. Who will step up as the go-to guy? Many expect it to be Mayo, who in his first two NBA seasons averaged 38 minutes and 18 points per contest. He should come close to matching those minutes and the scoring ought to follow.
Defense, rebounding and the transition game may be the Mavs’ best bet to a successful evening. Coach Rick Carlisle needs to utilize his team’s lack of size and younger legs to push the ball and create easy scoring opportunities before the Lakers’ defense can situate itself in the half-court.
The Mavs are eager to discover where they sit with eight new players and early tests do not come much better than a true Western Conference power such as the Los Angeles Lakers.
Game action tips approximately at 9:40 p.m. CT and airs nationally on TNT.
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