The Los Angeles Lakers wrap up their five-game road trip with a visit to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks Friday night. The teams already met once this season, with Dirk Nowitzki pouring in 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting in a double-digit Lakers loss. They'll look to avenge it with a victory to cap their first long trek outside of California of the season.
D'Angelo Russell looked engaged on both ends of the floor in their back-to-back in Florida. Lakers head coach Byron Scott let Russell close their buzzer-beating loss to the Orlando Magic, and he looked prepared for the opportunity to finish an opponent off. Unfortunately it didn't happen, but seeing him break 30 on-court minutes for the first time this season was a pleasant development.
Their defense was killed by second-chance points against the Magic, giving up a mountain of offensive rebounds. Checking Dirk is going to be an entirely different problem for the Lakers to solve, as he's gotten off to a great start this season. Nowitzki is averaging 18.9 points per game while shooting 55 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range. L.A. couldn't stop him in their first meeting, and they don't' suddenly have a Dirk stopper.
Or do they? Larry Nance, Jr.'s continued to look solid off the bench and might be able to provide good, physical minutes to throw a different look at Dirk defensively. His energy on the boards and around the paint, partnered with Julius Randle chipping away ahead of him, could be a challenging rotation for Dallas to deal with.
The Lakers are officially listing Kobe Bryant as questionable as he tries to rest up and deal with a sore back he's hoping to leave behind once he returns. They next play the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles on Sunday. Enjoy the game, and if things get ugly let's just blame it on being Friday the 13th.
Time: 5:30 p.m. PT