Lakers at Mavericks
The Los Angeles Lakers are aiming to end their worst road start in 19 years when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. Los Angeles has lost all four road contests, its worst season-opening stretch since losing its first six away games in 1993. The Lakers have struggled all season, beginning with a season-opening 99-91 loss to the Mavericks. Dallas is a game above .500 despite not having the services of superstar Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavericks snapped a six-game regular-season losing streak against the Lakers with the Oct. 30 victory. Darren Collison scored 17 points as one of six Dallas players in double figures. The Mavericks are 5-2 at home and reside in third place in the Southwest Division. Los Angeles is adjusting to the quicker system ran by new coach Mike D’Antoni and lost to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. The Lakers also lost to the Sacramento Kings on the three-game road excursion that ends in Dallas.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles), Fox Sports Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE LAKERS (6-7): Forward Pau Gasol is struggling to find his place in the D’Antoni offensive system and had just six points against Memphis and 14 over the last two games. A telling statement was made on D’Antoni’s part when Gasol didn’t play a single minute in the final quarter. “I was thinking, ‘Well, I’d like to win this game,’ ” D’Antoni said. “That’s the reason.” Gasol’s only 20-point outing of the season was when he scored 23 against the Mavericks in the season opener. “That’s not my decision, my call,” Gasol said of not playing in the final stanza against the Grizzlies. “I’m a professional. When my number is called, I’m out there.”
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (7-6): Guard O.J. Mayo scored 27 points in a victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday and the Mavericks are 4-1 when he scores 25 or more points. Mayo has eight 20-point outings this season after having just six all last season when he was employed by Memphis. He has been outstanding from 3-point range and leads the NBA in both 3-pointers (42) and 3-point percentage (56.8). Guard Vince Carter also stood out against New York with a season-high 25 points.
1. Los Angeles has won 14 of the last 18 regular-season meetings with Dallas.
2. Carter will become the 104th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 regular-season games when he enters Saturday’s game. The 15-year veteran has a 21.3 career average.
3. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant scored 30 points against Memphis but was just 7-for-23 from the field. He has five games of 30 or more points this season.