Lakers vs. Mavericks Pre-Game Report: Finishing the Texas Two-Step

Los Angeles Lakers (29-17) at Dallas Mavericks (27-20)
6:30 PM PST, March 21, 2012
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
TV: ESPN
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Mavs Projected Starting Line-up:

PG: Jason Kidd
SG: Vince Carter
SF: Shawn Marion
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Ian Mahinmi

Key Reserves: PF Lamar Odom, SG Jason Terry, SG Rodrigue Beaubois

The Lakers hope to close out their Texas roadtrip with a win in Dallas. The Mavs are riding a four game winning streak into tonight’s game and are looking better than ever after a blowout win against the Spurs. Kobe and company will need to play focused basketball on both offense and defense if they hope to win.

Frontcourt: Lamar recently made some waves in the press when he came out a denied he sought a trade from the Lakers. It seems like he’s not enjoying his time in Dallas and as all Lakers fans know, his game swings up and down with his emotions. Lamar has failed to reach double digits in the past six games. Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki is a matchup nightmare since he can score from virtually everywhere on the court. He leads the Mavs with 20 points per game and could easily get 40 if he gets hot. Mahinmi has stepped into the starting lineup in place of an injuried Brendan Haywood. Bynum will have a significant size advantage against the Mahinmi who is listed at 230 pounds.

Backcourt: Marion is listed as questionable for tonight’s game, if he sits, then Beaubois will start at the two and Carter will slide to the three spot. In the last two games, Beaubois has started and averaged 15 points. He’s a speedy guard who can weave his way through the paint with ease. The elder statesmen of the team, Kidd has lost most of his speed, but he’s still a great distributor and savvy on defense (1.8 steals per game). Vince Carter has managed to stay healthy for the majority of the season and he’s helping the Mavs out with his 1.3 treys per game on 38 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Off the bench, Terry is a reliable scorer who can always be counted on to hit the open jumper. He leads the team with 2.1 threes per game.

Keys to Lakers’ Victory:
Take Advantage of Mahinmi – Bynum has been unstoppable lately and the Lakers should get him as many touches as possible tonight. At 230 pounds, Mahinmi will have a tough time staying in front of Bynum. Provided that he gets enough touches, I would expect Andrew to tally 30+ points tonight.

Focused Defense for 48 Minutes – The Lakers have shown that they are one of the best defensive teams in the league when they’re dialed in, but sometimes they have lapses and allow teams to get back into the ball game. They’ll need to stay focused all game in order to beat a very dangerous Mavs team tonight.

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