The Los Angeles Lakers will take a 10-game winning streak into their matchup against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks to begin a very tough December schedule.
The Lakers dominated the easy start they had to the season, going 17-2 and finding themselves at the top of almost every major statistic. Now comes a real test where they’ll have to play playoff-caliber teams on an almost nightly basis from both conferences and it starts with the Mavericks.
For the Mavericks, their hot start to begin this season comes down to Doncic, who has gone from 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year to 2020 NBA Most Valuable Player candidate in just one season, beating even the most generous projections of him. Through 18 games, Doncic is averaging 30.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 9.6 assists.
The Lakers and Mavericks met up exactly one month prior to this matchup on Nov. 1, and it was an instant classic. Doncic and LeBron James both put up incredible triple-doubles and the Lakers needed an overtime to secure a 119-110 win. That was just the fifth game of the season for these teams, but both the Lakers and Mavericks have sustained their great play.
Avery Bradley was re-evaluated for his hairline fracture after the team’s win against the Washington Wizards and at that time was ruled out for not only this game, but the entire three-game road trip coming up afterward.
Kyle Kuzma, who was listed as questionable, will play after suffering a mild left ankle sprain in the win over the Wizards.
This means the Lakers will have to work extra hard to shore up their defense.
The Lakers had the NBA’s No. 1 defense before Bradley’s injury, but since he went down, they have ranked No. 12, dropping them from first to fourth in that time span.
However, they’ve been playing bad defense against largely under .500 teams but that won’t be able to work against the Mavericks. They’ll need to play strong defense right from the opening tip if they want a chance at winning.
On offense, the Lakers will likely try hard to get Doncic guarding James as that matchup led to several big-time buckets in the last meeting. If they can get to that matchup early and often, they’ll heavily increase their chances of winning.
The Lakers will face a lot of serious tests over the next month and it begins with the Mavericks. If they can start the month off with a win, it may build some confidence heading into the rest of the brutal month.
Los Angeles Lakers (17-2) vs. Dallas Mavericks (12-6)
1:00 P.M. PT, Dec. 1, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook
Projected Mavericks Starting Lineup:
PG: Tim Hardaway Jr.
SG: Dorian Finney-Smith
SF: Luka Doncic
PF: Dwight Powell
C: Kristaps Porzingis
Key Reserves: Maxi Kleber, Seth Curry, Delon Wright, Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson, Boban Marjanovic