Lakers Vs. Mavericks Preview: LeBron James & Luka Doncic Square Off In L.A.
Luka Doncic LeBron James Lakers Mavericks
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers saw their five-game win streak snapped on Monday against the Denver Nuggets. Now back home, they look to start up another streak and get some revenge for what happened on Christmas Day against the Dallas Mavericks.

Of course, when these two teams met last time, the Lakers were in control for the entire first half until one of the worst quarters in franchise history occurred. Dallas outscored the Lakers 51-to-21 in the third quarter, completely flipping the contest and leading to an easy win for the Mavericks.

The Lakers have won 6-of-8 games since that night, however, while the Mavericks have lost three of their last four since their seven-game win streak was snapped.

LeBron James being back on the court obviously increases the Lakers’ chances at victory significantly. The leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game is averaging 34.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in his last eight games and remains unstoppable when getting in the paint, which is a place the Mavericks have struggled defending this season.

This is why Thomas Bryant will be key for the Lakers as well. The big man is averaging 20.8 points and 12.2 rebounds in the month of January so far and the Lakers must dominate the paint against this Mavericks team, which they failed to do on Christmas.

Something else the Lakers failed to do was contain the Mavericks’ 3-point barrage. Dallas is third in the league in 3-pointers made per game and they knocked down 18 on Christmas with nine of those coming in that fateful third quarter. Containing Luka Doncic is basically impossible, but the Lakers can not allow both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood to go off once again.

The Lakers will also need someone to step up in place of Patrick Beverley, who is be out due to a non-COVID illness. The veteran has really found his shooting stroke lately so the Lakers could use a big contribution from an unlikely source.

Rookie Max Christie was impressive in his first career start on Monday and could see significant playing time again, especially as a defensive option against the potential MVP in Doncic. Kendrick Nunn has also been better recently, scoring double-figures in two of his last three games while Darvin Ham has turned to two-way player Cole Swider and 10-day contract signee Sterling Brown recently as well.

Lastly, the Lakers need Dennis Schroder to continue his aggressive play and hot shooting. The point guard is averaging 15.9 points on 42.6 percent from 3-point range in the last 10 games and has been a spark to the Lakers’ offense improving recently.

Los Angeles Lakers (19-22) vs. Dallas Mavericks (23-19)
7:00 pm PT, January 12, 2023 Arena
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Max Christie
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: LeBron James
C: Thomas Bryant

Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Wenyen Gabriel, Kendrick Nunn, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Sterling Brown, Cole Swider

Projected Mavericks Starting Lineup:

PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Spencer Dinwiddie
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF: Christian Wood
C: Dwight Powell

Key Reserves: Reggie Bullock, Davis Bertans, Frank Ntilkina, Jaden Hardy

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