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Lakers vs. Mavericks Game Preview: Time to find some heart at home

Can the Lakers build some momentum before the year comes to a close? Tune in to find out!

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a home stand they need to start taking advantage of, getting a crack at the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night in STAPLES Center. They’ll do so on a national stage with TNT carrying the game, meaning the world will be watching a Lakers squad that’s gone 2-13 through December.

Oh boy.

Tarik Black will be available for the Lakers after missing the previous five games, though head coach Luke Walton plans on playing Thomas Robinson ahead of him in the rotation for now. Robinson’s been an energetic plug in off the bench, doing his best to fill in the hustle play stats typically stacked up by Larry Nance, Jr. and Tarik.

The Mavericks will be without J.J. Barea, which if you’ve been watching the Lakers at all over the last decade, you know that’s huge news. Barea is one of the many random Laker killers sprinkled throughout the association. His absence alone probably hikes the Lakers’ chances of winning by 40 percent.

Dirk Nowitzki has played a mere eight games this season due to an Achilles injury. Three games back, Dirk’s hovering around the 15 minutes per game as he eases his way into the rotation. Now close your eyes and picture the freight train that is Julius Randle going at him.

The Lakers could use a win Thursday night before their schedule difficulty spikes up with the Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies and road game against the Portland Trail Blazers lined up. Dallas looks like their most winnable game of that bunch, however winnable a game can be for the Lakers these days. Blowing double-digit leads and failing to execute down the stretch have become a theme on the season.

But no need to fret just yet. Every game starts at 0-0, which means until the box score says otherwise, the Lakers definitely have a chance to capture an elusive win Thursday night. Enjoy the game!

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: TNT