Thankfully, before that happens, they get to face off against the 9-37 Lakers, who also have a losing streak going right now. If nothing else, the Mavs could use a confidence booster at the defensive end, after giving 109 to OKC last Friday, and 115 in an embarrassing loss Sunday afternoon against the Rockets.
WHAT HAVE THE LAKERS DONE RECENTLY?
Recently, the Lakers have lost six straight. More broadly, perhaps the most consistently successful franchise in professional basketball is enduring their lowest period in their near-70 year existence. They already set a new low in terms of winning percentage last season, and they may obliterate that mark this season. After only three seasons prior to 2013 in over six decades where the Lakers won less than 40% of their games, they find themselves now on their way to a third straight such campaign. For those less than thrilled with the five titles achieved during the aughts, this current incarnation might as well be the Harlem Globetrotters of schadenfreude.
WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME THESE TEAMS MET?
The Mavericks won 90-82 back on November 13th, but before we put this one in the bank as a "W" it's probably worth pointing out that the Mavericks hardly ran away with that one. Dallas led from the end of the first quarter all the way to the end, but a good portion of the final frame was played with the margin being only a single basket. In the final minute, the Mavericks rattled off of the last five points of the game(all free throws), but overall the young Lakers were not totally outclassed.
WHO GETS THE START AT CENTER?
ZaZa has been listed as doubtful for Tuesday's game, as he continues to recover from a leg injury that also kept him out against Houston. It will be interesting to see if Rick Carlisle opts to start Javale McGee(who did not play at all against a small-ball Rockets squad) opposite one of the more "old-school" starting big men in the league in Roy Hibbert, or if Salah Mejri will get a second straight start. Given his strong recent play, I hope Mejri will at least get some quality minutes either way.
WHAT WILL BE THE KEY MATCHUP IN THIS GAME?
That's easy. They may not guard each other all the time, but a Chandler Parsons-Kobe Bryant matchup should get top billing Tuesday night. Parsons has been volcanic hot of late(sadly, not resulting in many wins for the team), averaging 29 points on 60% shooting the last three games. Expect Parsons to be primed for a chance to continue this strong play under the Hollywood spotlight and facing a future Hall-of-Famer in Bryant.
HOW TO WATCH
Being on the west coast, the game is set to start at 10:30 Eastern Time, 9:30 CT, on NBATV and FSSW. Out of town League Pass subscribers who don't have NBATV(like me) will have to wait til tomorrow to see this one.