Kidd: Kidd was not good Tuesday night (of course neither was anyone else) he must push the ball against the Lakers and get his teammates the ball in good situations. Fisher will play solid defense against him but he will have some opportunities at some open looks, he must make the best of them.
Fisher: Hard to believe someone could have as bad a game as Kidd did but Fisher did. However with Lakers team Fisher is not required to do a whole lot other than take care of the ball. Fisher will try to make the Mavs respect his outside shot early to help create some space for Kobe to work. If Kidd can keep him in check, it will go a long ways in helping the Mavs stay in the game. Edge: Mavs
Ross: Mr. Q is going to have his hands full tonight, there is not a player in the league who can "shut down" Kobe Bryant, all we can hope for is that Ross can keep him under control (by under control I mean under 30 points). The only problem I have with Ross is he is very limited on the offensive end, and that just means Kobe will have a lot of free time on his hands to create disruption in other places.
Black Mamba: Kobe was in mid season form in the opener going for 33 points in 38 minutes Tuesday night. The Mavs cannot afford for him to get in that same kind of groove tonight. Look for the Mavs to try and double him early in the clock to try and force the ball somewhere else. All I can say is good luck Quinton your gonna need it. Edge: Lakers and it's not even close
Marion: Shawn was clearly behind as far as his conditioning against the Wizards, but he has had a few days and several practices to work on that since the loss. The only problem now is he will be checked by one of the best defenders in the league tonight. Look for the Mavs to try and get Marion involved early with lots of pick and rolls, and out on the break. Shawn has the quickness and skill set to keep Artest in check. This should be the best battle of the night.
Artest: Ron Ron shot miserably the other night and has been known to stand outside the 3 point line and jack'em up all night even when they are not going down. Artest will get open looks simply because of the defensive flow going towards Kobe, if he is on the Lakers could run off and hide. On the defensive side of things Ron generally feeds off of his defense, if he takes control of the match up with Marion look for him to have a big night offensively as well. Edge: Even
Nowitzki: Dirk had a very nice game against the Wizards (he is like really good and stuff) I was a little surprised by his shooting percentage (40% 10 of 25). I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that no one else on the team could make a shot and it forced Dirk to probably take some shots that he did not want to. I fully expect another solid night offensively from Dirk as LA he averages 25 points at 47%. It will come down to though what he can do on the defensive end that will matter in this game.
Odom: Odom had a very solid opener against the Clippers but let's be honest no one knows which Odom is going to show up. When he is on his game he is an outstanding player (as gifted as any in the league). He is athletic enough to give Dirk a tough time but has the tendency to get lazy on the defensive end. Let's hope the lazy Odom shows up tonight. Edge: Mavs
Gooden/ Dampier: Not for sure if Gooden will get the start tonight but I just have to believe that Carlisle will want to try and use Gooden's ability to get out run against a slower more traditional center in Bynum. Both Gooden and Dampier did not play well in the opener and to be honest I am very uncertain as to what to expect from these two tonight. What I do know though is this games outcome will have a lot to do with how they play. If both play well the Mavs should be able to do some good things, but another performance like Tuesday and this game could be over by halftime.
Bynum: Bynum was simply outstanding against the Clippers and he could have an absolute field day against the Mavs center tandem. Bynum just simply is too much for our bigs to handle. Edge: Lakers
Prediction: The Mavericks are still trying to come together as a team with all the new players to be able to legitimately compete with the Lakers tonight. The Mavs will keep it close in the beginning on shear emotion but will fade.
Lakers 114 Mavs 95