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Lakers (2-2) @ Mavericks (2-1) Game Preview – 11/05/13

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Lakers (2-2) @ Mavericks (2-1) Game Preview – 11/05/13

The Lakers head out to Dallas tonight as they kick off a three-game road trip which they hope will get off to a better start than their last away game, a 125-94 blowout at Golden State.

According to Mark Medina, the Lakers’ starting lineup will remain the same, which means that Shawne Williams will get another shot as a starter.

So far, Williams has been disappointing and has been unable to be that deadly stretch four that Mike D’Antoni expects him to be. It’s still a small sample size, but Williams is shooting just 2-for-8 (25 percent) from three-point range so far.

Chris Kaman (8.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game) and Jordan Hill (6.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game) would seem to be likely candidates to replace Williams in the starting five, though it appears that D’Antoni will roll with his “stretch four” for a little while longer.

Steve Nash will look to continue his strong play from Sunday’s win versus the Hawks: he had 13 points and 6 assists in 29 minutes on the floor. The Canadian revealed that he is still dealing with nerve issues from his broken leg last year, yet he is optimistic that he’ll be able to battle through the pain and continue to produce out there on the court.

Xavier Henry made the most of his first start for the Lakers on Sunday when he recorded 18 points on 5-for-11 shooting. The 22-year-old is also doing an excellent job of getting to the free throw line: he is currently fourth in the league at free throw attempts at 31. However, he’s shooting just 58 percent from the line – that percentage needs to increase.

The Lakers have won 9 of the last 10 regular season meeting with the Mavericks and will hope to carry over that success into tonight’s game.

This is a game that the Lakers need to win, especially seeing as they face the Rockets in Houston on Thursday and then the Pelicans in New Orleans the following night.

KEY MATCHUP

While Jose Calderon has given the Lakers problems in the past, it’ll be Monta Ellis who the purple and gold will need to limit tonight. Ellis is averaging 23.3 points per outing over the Mavs’ first three games and is shooting 37.5% from three.

Dirk Nowitzki is always a threat (he’s averaging 23.3 points per game and is shooting a blistering 58% from deep so far) and the 6’9″ Williams may struggle to guard the 7 foot German, though slowing Ellis should be the Lakers’ main goal.

It would make sense for Steve Blake to start off guarding the speedy Ellis rather than the 39-year-old Nash, though on opening night Nash was given the task of defending Chris Paul instead of picking up the less active J.J. Redick, so it’s unclear what kind of defensive plan the Lakers will have up their sleeves for this one.

EXPECTED STARTERS

LAKERS
Steve Nash
Steve Blake
Xavier Henry
Shawne Williams
Pau Gasol

MAVERICKS
Jose Calderon
Monta Ellis
Shawn Marion
Dirk Nowitzki
Samuel Dalembert

INJURY LIST

Kobe Bryant (Achilles) – doubtful
Jordan Hill (knee) probable)
Devin Harris (foot) – out
Shane Larkin (ankle) – out
Brandan Wright (shoulder) – out

The game starts at 5:30 pm PST and will be broadcast live on TWC SportsNet and NBA TV.

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