Lakers Can Beat Dallas With Defense and Size

The Mavericks have absolutely no answer for Kobe Bryant. Good ankle, bad ankle, sore ankle—it doesn’t matter. They’ll try just about anyone in a blue uniform to contain the Black Mamba. Kidd and Terry will have the bulk of the duties, Marion might get some time, DeShawn Stevenson and even Corey Brewer could partake as well. Options are nice, but not when it’s because they’re all ineffective.

To combat this, the Mavericks may try to go to a zone defense and the Lakers can attack said defense in one of two ways. One, the Lakers can resist the urge to take perimeter shots and trust the triangle offense to break-down the zone defense. Two, move the ball around and make the extra pass to get the high-percentage shot in the paint and lower post. Yes, the last two points are redundant, but only because I’m trying to emphasize that the Lakers can’t expect to beat Dallas by falling in love with jump shots. They have to find a way to get the ball inside to their big men.

If the Lakers can do this it’ll be to their advantage because like Dallas doesn’t have an answer for Bryant, their answer for Bynum is good, but not great. That is if Chandler stays out of foul trouble he can be effective, but if he doesn’t and Bynum fares like he did during all three regular-season meetings when he averaged 16.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and a shooting percentage of 70.4—it’s going to be a horrific series for the Mavs.

Theoretically, getting the ball inside doesn’t pose as big a challenge as the last series because Gasol doesn’t have to fight so much for position against Nowitzki in the post. The physicality that was present in the last series isn’t really an issue against the Mavericks. They’re not a team that relies on brute force to anchor their defense.

“I just think they’re very good at providing help [defense] for each other,” said Fisher. “It’s not that they’re overly powerful, overly physical, but they know how to cover for each other.”

The Mavericks certainly aren’t going to be a walk in the park to beat. Then again neither are the Lakers.

If the Lakers can execute their offense by getting the ball in the low post to Bynum and Gasol, defend Nowitzki well and keep the rest of the Mavericks at bay, it’s going to be very hard to overcome the Lakers four-out-of-seven times to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Mavericks know they’ll have to be near perfect night-in and night-out, because what was true 23 years ago remains the same now—you can’t make mistakes against the Lakers.

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