NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 13th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (29-9) at Dallas Mavericks (25-12), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Western Conference powers collide Wednesday night as the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers aim to make history as they finish up a two-day tour of Texas by facing off with the Southwest Division-leading Dallas Mavericks.
A win tonight and the Lakers will become the first NBA franchise to record 3,000 all-time wins.
With Pau Gasol on the sidelines and Kobe Bryant limited to 33 minutes with back spasms, the banged-up Lakers, who have a comfortable five-game lead over Phoenix in the Pacific Division, faltered badly in San Antonio last night.
Tim Duncan scored a game-high 25 points with 13 rebounds in that one as the Spurs, who are 1 1/2 games south of the Mavs in the Southwest Division, routed Los Angeles, 105-85, at AT&T Center.
Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 23 points and eight rebounds, while Lamar Odom notched a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds to go along with six assists.
Bryant attempted just 10 shots, making seven for 16 points with just one rebound and three assists as the Lakers lost for the third time in four games and dropped their fourth straight road game.
Bryant, who is also fighting through a broken right index finger, first started suffering the spasms in the second quarter but played through them to the conclusion of the third quarter. He then went back to the locker room and didn't play in the fourth. Bryant didn't attempt a shot in the third stanza.
"He got locked up in the third quarter. He had a (back) spasm in the second quarter and then came out. He came back and tried to play and obviously he wasn't right," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said about Bryant's injury.
After the game, the former MVP indicated that he was "pretty sure" he will be able to play tonight as he aims to help LA avoid losing five in a row away from home for the first time since March 4-15, 2007.
Gasol, however, is expected to miss his sixth consecutive game after straining his left hamstring in the Lakers' last game against the Mavs on Jan. 3.
Dallas, meanwhile, is also coming off a tough loss, falling to Utah, 111-93, in Big D on Saturday. Deron Williams came back from a two-game absence in that one to score 20 points with nine assists, leading the Jazz.
Dirk Nowitzki had a game-high 29 points to go with eight rebounds for Dallas, which had won three of its previous four coming in. Jason Kidd added 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Jason Terry had 16 points in defeat.
"We have to do a better job on the second half of back-to-backs," said Mavs guard Jose Barea said of the team's 5-6 record in the latter game of back-to- back contests. "I'm not sure what we have to do, but we have to figure it out and then forget about this one and have good practices on Monday and Tuesday and see what happens."
The Lakers have won seven of their last eight contests with Dallas.
01/13 10:34:48 ET