The Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks will face off for the first time this season Thursday morning. Both are also on a two-game win streak, but which between the Lakers and the Mavs will extend their undefeated run to three games?
Catch this game live on Thursday, December 16, at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Los Angeles Lakers (15-13/5-6 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Avery Bradley
- SF: Wayne Ellington
- PF: LeBron James
- C: Anthony Davis (questionable)
LeBron James is taking over for the Lakers. The four-time league MVP has looked like a monster of late, having averaged 28.3 points on 60.8 FG% and 41.7 3FG%, 7.5 rebounds, and 8.0 assists over the last four Lakers games. In their 106-94 home win over the Orlando Magic last Monday, James flexed his muscle for 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. All this to say that when James is playing at that level, the Lakers have everything they need to beat any team.
The King will have to be in top form against Dallas, especially if Anthony Davis, who sat out the last two contests with a knee problem, misses another game. And then there’s also the expected absences of Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, and Talen-Horton Tucker for Thursday’s game due to health and safety protocols reasons. The Lakers are 6-4 against the spread in their last 10 meetings with Dallas. They are also 3-2 ATS in their last five trips to the American Airlines Center.
Home: Dallas Mavericks (14-13/7-6 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jalen Brunson
- SG: Reggie Bullock
- SF: Dorian Finney-Smith
- PF: Kristaps Porzingis
- C: Dwight Powell
A potential absence for Davis on the side of the Lakers will be very much welcome for the Mavericks, particularly to Kristaps Porzingis. The Latvian unicorn will gladly take advantage of an AD-less Lakers frontcourt while he’s still riding a huge momentum from an excellent performance in Dallas’ 120-96 home win over the Charlotte Hornets last Tuesday. Porzingis put up 24 points, grabbed five rebounds, and swatted away five shots in just 25 minutes of action against the Hornets.
With Luka Doncic ruled out for Thursday’s game because of an ankle problem, Porzingis should get a ton of touches again, while Jalen Brunson starts anew. The former National Player of the Year was effective in lieu of Doncic in the Charlotte game, chipping in 13 points and dishing out eight assists. Although they are just 26th in defensive rebounds per game, the Mavs are eighth in defensive rebounding rate, which helps explain why Dallas (5-2 ATS in last 7 Thursday games) is limiting opponents to only 85.6 field goal attempts per game – fourth-best in the NBA.
Spread: The Lakers are too shorthanded for this game against a surging Mavs. Leaning on the Mavs to cover (-2).
Over/Under: The Mavs have among the slowest paces in the NBA. I like the Under (216.5) here.