Two of the top dogs in the Western Conference are going to meet up in Tinseltown on Sunday afternoon in the late game of the ABC double dip. The Los Angeles Lakers are going to look to exact some revenge on the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs know that there is still some work to do just to get into the postseason this year. They are looking good in the No. 6 hole coming into the weekend, and they are just a game back of the Memphis Grizzlies and 2.5 back of the Los Angeles Clippers. Getting up to even the No. 3 seed is believable with a win in this game. However, just 2.5 games back are the Phoenix Suns, who are playing the first team outside of the playoffs, and just a half game behind them are the Utah Jazz, who are within striking distance as well. The team has won three games in a row, most recently surviving for a 97-94 victory at the Portland Trail Blazers after leading by 19 going into the 4th quarter. Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 to lead the way, while Delonte West and Shawn Marion both had big games. Marion had a double-double with 17 points and 14 boards, while West went for 21 points, seven assists, six boards, and three steals, making up for his six turnovers.
Odds have it, the Lakers are going to be without Kobe Bryant in this one. He has been battling a shin injury for the last week or so, and he is listed as doubtful for this Sunday soiree. The man that is going to be in the thick of the action if Kobe is out is Andrew Bynum. Just a few nights ago, he went off for 30 boards against the San Antonio Spurs. The very next game on Friday, he scored 30 points and had eight rebounds against the Denver Nuggets. Pau Gasol has put up some nice stats this year with 17.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, and he has been on fire of late. He has at least 14 points and at least nine boards in a slew of games in a row, and he had three straight games of 20+ points before the win over Denver. That victory was the third straight for the Lakers, and it was the third straight game holding teams to 97 points or fewer after allowing 125 to the Phoenix Suns.
The Final Word: In the end, the Lakers are the better team in this one, even without Kobe out there. These two teams are really quietly playing well at the moment, and we think that LA is going to be the squad that gets the job done in the end at home.
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.