The Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks meet head-on in this Christmas Day game that will pit the four-time league MVP LeBron James against arguably the future face of the NBA: Luka Doncic. Which of these teams’ Christmas will be merrier?
Catch this game live on Saturday, December 26, at 9 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (0-1, 0-1 at home)
The Lakers fell prey to the LA Clippers on opening night last Wednesday, 116-109. There’s no need to panic obviously for the Lakers, but their 19 turnovers suggest that there might be some issues to be ironed out in terms of their chemistry, especially with the new guys on the roster. The Lakers can be expected to play with more cohesion against Dallas.
Speaking of which, Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell had nice debuts in Lakers threads. Schroder started and scored 14 points, while Harrell came off the bench and had a double-double against his former team, recording 17 points and 10 rebounds. LeBron James led the Lakers with his 22 points in 28 minutes. James sprained his ankle in the Clippers game, but he’s given the assurance that he’ll be out there on the court against the Mavericks.
Last season, James averaged 28.0 points on 52.6 percent shooting from the field in four games against Dallas.
The Lakers are 5-1 straight up in their last six games at STAPLE Center against the Mavericks, dating back to 2018.
ROAD TEAM: Dallas Mavericks (0-1, 0-1 on the road)
It wasn’t a shiny season debut for the Mavericks, as they fell flat on their faces in a 106-102 road loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. Golden Boy Luka Doncic paced the Mavs with 32 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists, but he shot just 11 of 26 and went 0 of 6 from deep.
Doncic, however, repeatedly bullied his way into the painted area for easy scores. Whoever the Lakers are going to assign to Doncic defensively will have to be ready to sacrifice at least a couple of fouls, as the Latvian guard-forward is clearly having his way with his defenders and the refs’ whistles.
Doncic went 10 of 12 from the free throw line in the Phoenix game. The Mavericks will look to shoot better from deep as well after making just nine of 29 3-point attempts against the Suns. Maxi Kleber could play a key role by stretching the floor and taking Anthony Davis away from the paint.
The Lakers’ perimeter defense was blasted by the Clippers the other day, with Paul George and company knocking down 14 threes, with two coming from big man Serge Ibaka.
The Mavericks enter Saturday’s game with the total hitting the under in seven of their last 10 road games.
The Lakers didn’t play the Clippers like they were more interested in winning the game than admiring their championship rings. That changes on Saturday, as the defending NBA champions smother the Mavs in a 120-112 win.