Setting the Table: Los Angeles Lakers (Game 55)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 24, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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It’s a Sunday showdown as the Dallas Mavericks (25-29) host the Los Angeles Lakers (27-29). Both teams are desperately trying to make up ground in order to take the 8th seed from the Houston Rockets. Sunday’s game is a must-win for both teams.

New Maverick Anthony Morrow will be in uniform against the Lakers. If Morrow is to play, it would only be the second time he has seen the floor since Dec. 29. The Mavericks will be looking to get positive news before the game. If Chris Kaman is cleared by the medical staff today, he’ll play against the Lakers. The big man has missed the past 10 games since sustaining a concussion during a practice session on Jan. 28.

The Mavericks will need a strong defensive performance against one Kobe Bean Bryant. Bryant, who recently guaranteed the Lakers would make the playoffs, is shooting 65.1 percent in his last three games against the Mavericks. Shawn Marion, O.J. Mayo, Vince Carter and Jae Crowder will have to handle the major defensive responsibility on Kobe.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Lakers.

Series Notes:

The Lakers have won 7-of-8 and 15 of the last 19 regular-season meetings with the Mavericks. The 2012-13 season series is currently tied at 1-1.

The Mavericks have dropped four straight at home against the Lakers. Vince Carter is averaging 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 21.5 minutes in two games against the Lakers in 2012-13. Shawn Marion is averaging 10.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 30.5 minutes in two starts against Los Angeles this season.

Dirk Nowitzki missed both games against the Lakers this season recovering from right knee surgery. Nowitzki averaged team highs in points (24.0), rebounds (10.8) and minutes (36.8) in four starts against the Lakers in 2011-12. The Lakers swept the 2011-12 season series, 4-0, but only one of the four games was decided by more than five points (a 109-93
win at Dallas on Mar. 21, 2012). The Mavericks snapped a 26-game losing streak in Los Angeles with a 110-93 victory on Dec. 12, 2003.

It’s a Small World:

Steve Nash played for the Mavericks from 1998-2004 and was an All-Star in Dallas in 2002 and 2003. Shawn Marion played three-and-a-half seasons with Nash on the Suns from 2004-08. Marion also played for Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix from 2003-08.

Antawn Jamison played for the Mavericks during the 2003-04 season and averaged 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 82 games (two starts) en route to winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. Vince Carter was a college teammate of Jamison’s at the University of North Carolina from 1995-98. Jamison and Carter led the Tar Heels to back-to-back ACC Tournament titles and Final Four appearances in their sophomore and junior seasons. Both players declared for the 1998 NBA Draft following their junior seasons. Jamison was taken fourth overall by Toronto, who then traded his rights to Golden State in exchange for Carter (the fifth overall pick). Carter played a season-and-a-half with Lakers center Dwight Howard in Orlando from 2009-10. Carter also played part of the 2010-11 season with Lakers guard Chris Duhon in Orlando. Lakers forward Earl Clark was part of a six-player deal that sent Carter from Orlando to Phoenix (Clark was traded from the Magic to the Suns).

Dwight Howard (Atlanta), Mavericks forward Jae Crowder (Villa Rica) and Mavericks center Bernard James (Savannah) all grew up in Georgia.

Rick Carlisle coached Lakers forward Metta World Peace for over two seasons when they were both with the Pacers (2003-05). World Peace (Queensbridge) and Elton Brand (Cortland) were both born in New York and played on the same AAU team as teenagers. Brand (first overall pick) and World Peace (16th overall pick) were both drafted by Chicago in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft and played their first two NBA seasons together as members of the Bulls. Brand played two-and-a-half seasons with Lakers guard Jodie Meeks in Philadelphia from 2010-12.

Mavericks player development coach and radio analyst Brad Davis was drafted by the Lakers in 1977 and played one season for Los Angeles.

Mavericks point guard Darren Collison grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. and played four seasons at UCLA from 2005-09.

Three Keys:

1. Ride Vince Carter. The explosive sixth man off the bench recorded 22 points to go along with a season-high-tying nine rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes off the bench at New Orleans. He scored Dallas’ final 11 points of the first quarter, and also hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that put Dallas up 102-100 and eventually won the game for Dallas. It was Carter’s seventh game with 20-plus points this season (5-2 record). Carter has made at least four 3-pointers in each of his last four games (vs. Atlanta on Feb. 11 through their game at New Orleans Feb. 22). He’s shot 19-of-30 (.633) from beyond the arc in the four-game span.

2. If you’re not rolling through Vince, ride through Highway 41. Dirk Nowitzki definitely looked like the old Dirk in the team’s last game against the Hornets. Dirk tallied a game-high 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes at New Orleans. It was his fifth game with 20-plus points this season, and his second-highest scoring game of the year (26 at Portland Jan. 29). He showed the full arsenal against the Hornets. It was his most complete game of the season. A big game against the Lakers would definitely build some serious momentum for the Tall Baller From the G.

3. Deliver depth and bring balance. The Mavericks are 12-5 this season when they have at least six players with 10-plus points in a game. Dallas had six-plus players in double figures seven times all of last year (5-2 record). Dallas had a season-high-tying seven players in double figures at Orlando on Jan. 20 (also had seven in double digits at Boston on Dec. 12). The Mavericks did not have one game with seven players in double digits all of last season. The Mavericks are averaging a league-high 40.9 bench points per game this season. Dallas has scored at least 50 points off the pine 10 times this season. In comparison, the Lakers have the fifth-worst scoring bench in the league at 14.6 points per game. Alone, Vince Carter is averaging 13.2 points per game this season.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.