We are in the home stretch of the regular season with roughly a dozen games left for each team. Looking at the Western Conference, we have a tight race, specifically for the play-in tournament. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Los Angeles Lakers fill the seventh to 10th seeds but the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans are on the outside looking in, hoping to be part of the conversation. Let’s not forget that the Golden State Warriors might stumble out of the top six as well.
All this is to say that the matchup between the Mavericks and Lakers tomorrow at 10:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines (available via Smart LiveStream or Cignal TV) has all kinds of implications.
The Mavericks own a 35-35 record as the eighth seed while the Lakers are trying to hold on to the 10th spot with a 34-36 card.
Interestingly, the last time these two squads met back in late February can serve as an inflection point for the Lakers. The Los Angeles squad rallied from 27 points down to come away with a stunning 111-108 road victory. It was also in this game that LeBron James injured his right foot. He was able to stay in the game but walked with a limp as he exited the arena. The King has missed the last nine games as the Lakers are currently 5-4 without him.
The Lakers’ chances to secure a seat in the postseason took a significant hit after they lost to the lowly Houston Rockets in their previous game. Anthony Davis sat out that contest and he is listed as probable to face the Mavericks. Los Angeles needs all the firepower it can get and AD’s 26.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks should definitely be a big lift.
Newly acquired talents D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt have all had their moments as members of the Lakers but time is running out for them.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks have had their share of injuries. The team played without Luka Doncic (thigh), Kyrie Irving (foot), and Tim Hardaway Jr. (calf) in their previous game versus the San Antonio Spurs. That game went into overtime after a late blunder by the Mavericks allowed the Spurs to force the extension. Fortunately, Christian Wood’s 28 points and 13 rebounds, plus the 22 points each from Jaden Hardy and Dwight Powell were enough to get the 137-128 victory.
Doncic and Irving participated in the team’s recent practice but the former will not suit up against the Lakers while the latter is listed as questionable.
The matchup on Saturday is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. The Mavericks won the first two meetings, including a double overtime win in January. The Lakers were able to bounce back in their recent encounter.