The much-anticipated return of eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis has the Purple and Gold and their faithful fans anxiously excited for the tussle.
Davis hasn’t played since February 14 against the Denver Nuggets, when he suffered a calf strain and aggravated an Achilles injury. Fellow LA Lakers star LeBron James later joined him after sustaining a right ankle sprain on March 20 against the Atlanta Hawks.
This will be the second encounter between the two teams this season. The teams initially met on Christmas Day, with the LA Lakers winning 138-115 for their first win of the season. The defending champs were led by Davis, who had 28 points, while James added 22 points. Luka Doncic was the highest scorer for the Mavs with 27 points.
Fixture - LA Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Thursday, April 22nd, 9:30 PM ET (Friday, April 23rd, 7:00 AM IST)
Venue - American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
LA Lakers Preview
LA Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that Davis will be a starter for the Dallas Mavericks game but will be limited to just 15 minutes of playing time.
The time constraints will likely be lifted ahead of the playoffs barring any recurrence of the calf injury.
There will most certainly be an adjustment period for the LA Lakers, especially for Markieff Morris, who took over Davis’ starting power forward position during his rehab.
Marc Gasol could be the odd man out in the rotation, but he has proven that he can still be effective against particular matchups. Vogel may yet find a way to insert the former Defensive Player of the Year into the lineup, depending on how the game plays out.
Key Player - Anthony Davis
The 15 minutes of playing time that Anthony Davis will get is likely going to be spread out throughout the game, giving him between three to four minutes per quarter.
Many will be interested to see how his conditioning holds up after not playing for more than two months. Such a long layoff will surely affect his timing and rhythm. His LA Lakers teammates will have to be patient with him as he gets re-acclimated to playing competitively.
One thing that Davis will immediately contribute to the LA Lakers is his defensive presence. His ability to cover his own man while being able to help out a teammate’s blown assignment is second to none. He will be a major deterrent to opposing players entering the lane, and the Dallas Mavericks will be the first to experience the difference.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Dennis Schroder l Shooting Guard - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope l Small Forward - Kyle Kuzma l Power Forward - Anthony Davis l Center - Andre Drummond
Dallas Mavericks Preview
The Dallas Mavericks broke a two-game losing streak after defeating the Detroit Pistons 127-117 on Wednesday. Prior to the game, they had lost four of their last five games and five of their previous seven.
The Mavs are just a game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.
A sixth-place finish would mean that the Dallas Mavericks would not have to go through the play-in tournament as they would be guaranteed safe passage into the playoffs next month. However, their recent struggles have caught up to them, and they have to stave off stiff competition from the teams behind them.
The game against the LA Lakers will be crucial, but it will come on the second night of a back-to-back for the Dallas Mavericks.
Key Player - Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic scored 30 or more points for the second straight game when he dropped exactly 30 points against the Detroit Pistons. He outdueled the Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox on Sunday, 37 points to 30, but the Dallas Mavericks lost 121-107.
On Wednesday, Doncic wasn’t going to waste another brilliant night. The two-time All-Star had 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Doncic would have been an MVP candidate if his team was near the top of the standings. His stats are right up there with the best in the league, with 28.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game.
For now, he is content to just try and secure a playoff spot for the Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas Mavericks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Luka Doncic l Shooting Guard - Josh Richardson l Small Forward - Dorian Finney-Smith l Power Forward - Kristaps Porzingis l Center - Dwight Powell
Lakers vs Mavericks Match Prediction
The LA Lakers have been alternating wins and losses since March 28. It’s a trend that they will want to continue for one more game after they lost to the Utah Jazz 111-97 on Monday. The Dallas Mavericks are a poor defensive team (21st overall in defensive rating), while the 2020 title holders are the best.
With the LA Lakers struggling offensively, a weak defense like the Dallas Mavericks is just what they need. Expect the Lakers to win this game and hand the Mavs their third loss in four games. The teams will meet again on Saturday in Dallas.
Where to watch Lakers vs Mavericks
The LA Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks game will be televised nationally by TNT and locally on Spectrum SportsNet. International viewers can watch the game live with an active NBA League Pass subscription.