The Lakers have managed to look like a solid team without megastar Kobe Bryant who is still recovering from a torn Achilles. Pau Gasol is keeping the team afloat with a supporting cast of lesser known players.
Xavier Henry has been a standout for the Lakers so far this season after never quite blossoming with the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. Gasol is leading the team with 15.8 points per game, and Henry is right behind him at 14.3 points per game through the first four games.
Hopefully, none of that will be enough with the Mavericks hitting at a high cylinder during most of their games, save for the first quarter against the Houston Rockets. Steve Nash has been battling a nerve issue, so he may be out for the Lakers tonight as well.
The teams that are going to give the Mavericks trouble this year are going to be the teams that have quick, penetrating guards and a lot of size up front. That description fits Houston, with James Harden getting into the paint to draw fouls and wreak havoc and Dwight Howard up front to play defense and collect rebounds.
However, that description does not at all fit the Lakers as currently constructed. Their centers don’t play as big as some other teams, which will play into the hands of Samuel Dalembert and the Mavericks. Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon are susceptible to guards who are quick, but that isn’t either of the Lakers in Steve Nash or his backup Steve Blake.
The Mavericks are averaging over 110 points per game, and Dirk Nowitzki and Ellis should be able to score plenty against the depleted Lakers. The Lakers have won six straight games in Dallas, but that should end tonight.