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Lakers vs. Mavericks Preview: How much will the Lakers lose by?

After the Lakers found a new low against the Pelicans on Sunday, it almost feels foolish to closely examine this upcoming game against the Mavericks, who are trending up while the Lakers are doing the complete opposite.

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New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers stink.

As fans, we’ve been able to distinguish far too many losses this year as the new “worst loss of the season.” After 59 games of the 2021-22 campaign left them at 27-32, the Lakers dropped a new contender for the (dis)honor on Sunday, with their 123-95 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a defeat that dropped them to six games below .500.

Here are a few things that happened during that game:

  • Fans started booing in the middle of the 3rd quarter when the 11-point halftime deficit ballooned up to as much as 30.
  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was seen leaving her seat during this stretch of the game.
  • After the game, video surfaced of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Trevor Ariza all exchanging not-so-kind words with fans, all at different points of the evening.
  • The Pelicans’ official Twitter changed their bio to reflect the fact that they “Beat the Lakers by 28 in LA.”
  • Oh, and DeAndre Jordan possibly nailed Rich Paul with an errant full-court pass.
  • In terms of the actual basketball, the Lakers tied their season-worst of 23 turnovers, with LeBron and Westbrook turning the ball over 7 times each.

It seemed to be a culmination of all the frustration of this season, even leaving Dwight Howard without any words to describe the situation.

But at least it’ll all be over soon, right? Wait... the Lakers still have 22 regular season games left?

Oh no.

Well, with that bad news, let’s preview their upcoming contest on Tuesday with the Dallas Mavericks coming into town.

How much will the Lakers lose by?

Look, I know I’m being negative. I’ve tried to make a stand that I will try to focus on the little positives of this season, even if it’s just in the play of Malik Monk, Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Stanley Johnson, or even Avery Bradley (who has missed both of the team’s games since coming out of the All-Star Game break).

But then the Lakers do what they did on Sunday, and all of that effort towards positivity is wiped out. And I chose those names for a reason, as those players play like they actually give a damn more often than not, even if they don’t make a huge impact on the games due to a lack of talent in a certain area or, in Howard and Bradley’s cases, because they’re just old.

It’s not a secret that the Lakers’ opponents this season have almost always put out far more effort than the fellas in the purple-and-gold. Westbrook even said that just playing harder seems to be the opponents’ “scouting report” on how to beat the Lakers, something I wrote about for Lakers Outsiders earlier today.

So if the lowly Pelicans can just simply outplay the Lakers to the point of being an absolute thrashing, even with LeBron and Westbrook out there on the floor, what hope are we supposed to have as fans that the team will put up a fight against the Mavericks?

This is a team with a 36-25 record, currently tied for the 5th-seed in the Western Conference. They’ve done so with a very impressive February, as they are 7-3 in the month with the 6th-best net rating of any team in that span. That net rating includes a 116.2 offensive rating which happens to be just a shade worse than the 116.8 offensive rating the Pelicans have in the same month.

They’ll be coming off an impressive come-from-behind road win against the Warriors on Sunday in a game in which Golden State squandered a 19-point lead they had with 9:59 left in the contest.

Although the Lakers have shown a knack for winning the games we expect them to lose and vice versa, this stage of the season feels different. The players’ emotions seem at an all-time low, and those championship aspirations appear to not be there for anyone, aside from the hard-headed Westbrook.

So I ask... how many points will the Lakers lose by?

We’ll find out on Tuesday night, and if they win... you can find me on Twitter with the handle @donny_mchenry.

Notes and Updates:

  • The Lakers reportedly waived DeAndre Jordan late on Monday, creating a roster spot to sign DJ Augustin. In addition, the team signed forward Wenyen Gabriel to a two-way contract. It’s unknown if either player will be ready to play on Tuesday, but both could theoretically get some run if they sign in time.
  • On the Lakers’ injury report, Avery Bradley (right knee effusion) remains out, as do Anthony Davis (right mid-foot sprain) and Kendrick Nunn (right knee bone bruise).
  • LeBron James (left knee sorenesss/effusion) is once again being listed as questionable, but he has played the last two games with the same designation, so he’ll likely give it a go.
  • Austin Reaves is a new addition to the injury report with a right ankle sprain. He is listed as probable.
  • The Mavericks’ injury report for the game lists Tim Hardaway, Jr., Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, Marquese Chriss, and Theo Pinson all as out.
  • Around the league, the 76ers’ trade for James Harden is working beautifully so far. The team is 2-0 in the games he’s played, with Harden averaging 28.0 points, 14.0 assists, 9.0 rebounds, and only 2.5 turnovers across those two contests. A stark difference so far when compared to his averages for the Nets this season of 22.5 points, 10.2 assists, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.8 turnovers per game.

The Lakers and Mavericks game will be exclusively televised on TNT, with the game tipping off at 7 p.m. PST.

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