Defending NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers take on Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday. In what will be the second of back-to-back games, the Lakers will have an opportunity to secure a revenge win against the Mavericks.
Anthony Davis was healthy enough to take the court in the first game but was only allowed to play for a limited time. Although he scored four points, it was a decent display from the forward who had been out for a long time. Meanwhile, the Mavericks lost Kristaps Porzingis in the third quarter due to an ankle sprain.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks Prediction
The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled in recent times with a 4-6 run in the last 10 games. The return of Anthony Davis to the lineup was definitely a boost, but it did not help secure a win for the Lakers.
The Dallas Mavericks will be looking to do the double against a weaker Lakers team. It is unclear if Porzingis' knock will leave him out of the game. If he is unavailable, it will be a tougher task for the Mavericks to ensure an encore.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks Combined 5
Point Guard - Luka Doncic | Shooting Guard - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | Small Forward - Kyle Kuzma | Power Forward - Kristaps Porzingis | Center - Andre Drummond
Dennis Schroder has been exceptional since joining the Los Angeles Lakers. The guard has stepped up in the absence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and been instrumental in many of the team's wins. But Luka Doncic will be the preferred starting point guard.
The Dallas Mavericks have been just as successful this season, mainly because of Luka's contributions. The Slovenian leads the team in points (28.7), assists (8.7), and steals (1.0). Amazingly, he is the second-best rebounder (8.0) in the team behind Porzingis (9.3)
The contest for the shooting guard position between Caldwell-Pope and the Dallas Mavericks' Josh Richardson is a close one. But Caldwell-Pope is the favorite because of his contributions to a depleted Los Angeles Lakers team.
The guard has averaged 23 points in his last three outings for the Lakers, averaging 52.2 percent shooting from the field. He has also been perfect from the free-throw line.
Kyle Kuzma was expected to produce the goods for the Los Angeles Lakers in the absence of James and Davis. Despite the expectations, the forward has been able to hold his own and help the Lakers secure victories on several occasions. Kuzma averages 12.8 points and a field goal percentage of 43.6.
Dorian Finney-Smith has also been impressive for the Dallas Mavericks but is not as impactful as the Lakers forward. Finney-Smith averages 9.4 points in 47 starts for the Mavericks.
Although Davis is back, one would not expect him to hit the ground running. Thus, Dallas forward Porzingis gets the nod ahead of him.
Kristaps Porzingis has missed a few games for the Mavericks due to injury but has come back strongly. He averages 20.4 points behind the team's leading scorer. He has also been impactful on the defensive end with 1.5 blocks and has grabbed 9.3 boards.
Willie Cauley-Stein is a formidable center, he is no match for the ferocious Andre Drummond. Drummond has played only eight games for the Los Angeles Lakers but has brought to the table the presence the Lakers needed in the paint.
In his short time with the Lakers, Drummond has averaged 11.9 points and is their leading rebounder (10). A matchup between him and Cauley-Stein will always weigh in the Lakers' big man's favour.