Tonight it finally begins. The new NBA Season tips off tonight and your Dallas Mavericks will start the season on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers. This is also be the first of many games that the Mavericks will be playing without their star player, Dirk Nowitzki.
Chris Kaman will also be out for tonight’s game which gives the assumption that coach Rick Carlisle will most likely start their newly acquisition, Eddy Curry. For the Lakers they may be without Kobe Bryant which could be a difference maker in tonight’s outcome.
I expect tonight’s game to be begin sloppy for both teams and whoever controls the flow of the game first will be the team that will win. However, without Kaman and Nowitzki, the Mavericks are putting their faith in Elton Brand and Curry to carry the load that the Mavs will be missing tonight.
Curry has only played 24 games in the last four years (missed the 2010-11 season). Who knows if he can still perform like he did early in his career. He is only 29 years old and coming to a team like the Mavs could help him redeem himself and have a career type season and tonight will be his chance when he goes one on one with Dwight Howard.
As for Elton Brand he did not play up to his expectation during the preseason only averaging 7.1 points a game. For the Mavs to walk away with a win Brand needs to be the person who puts up double figures both on the scoring end and on the boards.
Missing both Nowitzki and Kaman will show tonight and I believe that tonight could be a blow out in the Lakers favor. Although, this is the first game of the season and both teams are pretty much new from what they were last season, so the game could go either way.
This game in Hollywood will actually be good for the Mavs since it will give a chance for the young rookies. That is If Carlisle decides to put them in. With Nowitzki out I believe that rookie, Jae Crowder, will be playing tonight as a back up to Brand.
Crowder has been terrific during the exhibition games and I believe that he will slowly get better throughout the month of November with Nowitzki gone. During the preseason he averaged 11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals a game. As you have read in my previous post, I have a lot of faith in Crowder that he could become a great future all-star for the Mavericks as Josh Howard was back in the mid-2000′s.
Tonight is also the debut of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo in a Maverick uniform. If Mavs fans are expecting Collison to be like what Jason Kidd was then you will be very disappointed. Kidd was his own type of player and was a coach on the floor with the age and experience he had.
As for Collison, he is his own type of player and he will be very quick on any match-up. If he is going one on one with Steve Nash tonight then Collison will be able to get passed him with ease. Expect Collison to be the type of player that fans were hoping Devin Harris would turn up to be.
Mayo will be in the starting lineup tonight as well as Collison. He will be taking over what Jason Terry brought to the team, but it could be a better outcome than the “Jet” ever brought to Dallas. However, Mayo has been declining the past few seasons, but with the desire to be in Dallas this year could be a career making season for him. Mayo will have to be the man who leads the team in scoring if the Mavs want to walk out with a win tonight since he was brought to Dallas to be the “side-kick” to Dirk Nowitzki.
However, for tonight’s game even if the Lakers are with or without Bryant, who is a game time decision, the Mavs may not have enough strength or power to slow down Dwight Howard, Ron Artest and Pau Gasol. With that said my prediction for tonight’s game is the Lakers over the Mavericks in a double digit victory.
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers: 9:30pm CT on TNT