Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers expect to battle one another at American Airlines Center on January 7, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in Texas for a couple tricky games against the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets. Currently sitting six games below .500, the Lakers are nearly in a complete free fall with seven losses in their last eight games.
Pau Gasol was not traded at the Andrew Bynum trade deadline, so the Spaniard should find some peace of mind until the next round of trade rumors take off. In the meantime, the Lakers waived Shawne Williams to open a roster spot in the even Kendall Marshall is struck by the point guard curse that has already claimed Jordan Farmar, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Kobe Bryant and Xavier Henry.
In his two starts, Marshall is averaging 16 assists per game and has displayed an understanding of the game. Most impressively, the 22-year-old has kept his turnovers low. Since jumping into the starting lineup, his assist-to-turnover ratio is eight to one.
Williams’ departure should open up more time for Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly. Also, the Lakers may look to get Wesley Johnson some added minutes at power forward.
Looking at Tuesday's game, the Dallas Mavericks, are currently eighth in the Western Conference. After losing back-to-back home games against the LA Clippers and the New York Knicks, the Mavericks will hope to get back on track against the struggling Lakers.
As has been the case for the past decade, Dirk Nowitzki leads the Mavs in scoring. The giant German is averaging 20.9 points per game, only slightly better than Monta Ellis' 20.0 points per game. Nowitzki and Gasol tend to match up well against each other, and the two Europeans have consistently provided entertaining duels over the years.
Although Nowitzki cannot be overlooked, the Lakers should be wearier of Ellis. When these two teams met earlier in the season, Ellis scored 30 points on 11-14 shooting. His nine assists carved up the Lakers and helped Dallas to a big win. In the two recent losses against the Knicks and Clippers, Ellis was held to 13.0 points and 6.0 assists per game. Keeping the 28-year-old shooter quiet is the key to getting out of Dallas with a win.
Tip-off for the Lakers at Mavericks is 5:30 pm PST.