Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers hit the road for the first time (aside from the season opener on the Clippers’ home court) heading to Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers are coming off their first home-stand of the season, currently on a three-game winning streak following their matchups against the Jazz, Hornets, and Grizzlies. Anthony Davis was a beast in those games, currently averaging 28.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 3.0 BPG, and 1.0 SPG. He’s truly being dominant on both sides of the ball, re-enforcing the Lakers’ decision to export the young core for him game after game.
Aside from Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz, Davis hasn’t really run into any bigs that present a unique defensive challenge for him. He definitely didn’t experience this in the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, as he put up 40 points and 20 rebounds in the Lakers’ 120-91 win.
However, Davis may experience some defensive resistance in Friday’s game against the Mavericks in Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks’ back up bigs. Porzingis is a fellow NBA “unicorn” with Davis, essentially being a guard in a 7’0” body. Porzingis’ length alone should give Davis more trouble than anyone on the Grizzlies could have given him. Also be sure to watch for Maxi Kleber’s defense on Davis. Kleber is having a good start to the season, and is currently third on the Mavericks in DRTG.
Other things to watch for will be the youngest brother of the infamous marksmen family, Seth Curry, as he continues to be one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA. The Lakers actually were rumored to have interest in him this summer, and he definitely would have added a three-point boost to the Lakers, as he’s currently averaging 41.2% on 4.3 attempts per game.
Of course, I can’t talk about the Mavericks without talking about star point guard Luka Doncic. The second-year guard is averaging 25 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 6.8 APG through the Mavericks first four games. However, he is currently struggling from deep, shooting 28.6% on 8.8 attempts per game.
This game will also feature the season debut for Kyle Kuzma, as head coach Frank Vogel says he will be playing around 15-20 minutes per game. It’ll be interesting to see how Kuzma looks, as you have to assume that he will probably be a little rusty after not playing competitive basketball (practice or in games) since his injury in mid-August.
The game will tip off a little early at 6:30 p.m. PST, with one of these teams falling from 3-1 to 3-2. Here’s to hoping it’ll be the Mavericks and not the Lakers.
All stats from NBA.com or Basketball Reference