After what seems like an eternity, the Dallas Mavericks return home to the American Airlines Center Saturday night. Their opponent tonight is the Los Angeles Lakers. While perhaps not as vaunted as they once were, the Lakers are still a marquee franchise. At the trade deadline, Thursday, they grabbed headlines as one of the preeminent movers and shakers. LA shipped Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. off to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a first round draft pick. If you’re wondering why you know who Nance is, it’s because he is immortalized in NBA history as the guy that Dirk Nowitzki scored his 30,000th point on.
So, the Lakers have a new look and a new point guard (for now). Thomas will likely make his debut in the Purple and Gold against the Mavericks with Lonzo Ball still sidelined with a sprained left MCL. Los Angeles is riding a hot streak, winning their last four games. Dallas is doing the opposite, having lost their last two.
I’ve never been a member or proponent of #teamtank, but with 17 wins on the season, the writing is all but on the wall. That doesn’t mean that the team is going to roll over and trust the process, though. The players are too proud and will play hard. That makes for entertaining games, at least. Tonight’s match up should be no different. With so many things to talk about before tipoff, let’s take a look at three of them.
Corey Brewer deserves more playing time
Look, I know LeVar Ball openly criticized the job Luke Walton is doing as head coach of the Lakers. It was out of line and who really cares that much about some guy in Lithuania? Of course, Rick Carlisle came to Walton’s defense. It’s his job as the head of the coaches union. But now I’m kinda seeing what LeVar sees.
It’s a travesty that Brewer is only playing 12.7 minutes per game. He’s a damn NBA champion! Walton knows what that entails. He’s been there. That’s why it’s so frustrating to see Brewer riding the bench so much.
The Lakers are in a weird place. They’re not good, but they’re also not bad. Regardless of the direction they choose to go, Brewer can help them get there. Play him, Luke! #FreeCorey
Can the Mavs stop Corey Brewer?
I honestly don’t think they can. Dallas ate the bag of potato chips they acquired after trading Brewer. Those chips were the key to slowing him down. They were good chips. Like, Zapp’s level good. It’s no wonder the Mavs gobbled them up so fast. But now they don’t have anything to stop Brewer.
Fast forward to the game: Brewer is standing in the corner on offense. He’s not moving. He’s not even in the play. Then BAM! He has the ball, bricks a three, grabs his own rebound, puts it back up for two, and draws a foul. Remarkable. How do the Mavs stop that? Josh McRoberts? Maybe.
What to the Mavs need to do to win?
Well, since they can’t stop Corey Brewer they probably shouldn’t try to win. As I stated, Dallas will play hard and keep the game close. It’s what they do. Heck, if they get out to a good start and maintain that momentum they might even win despite having to face Corey Brewer. But that probably won’t happen. I mean, it’s Corey Brewer. What can you do?
If the Mavs disrupt the passing lanes and can score in transition, they have a shot at notching their 18th win. Besides that, Dallas needs to make this a slow, halfcourt game. They’re better suited for that than they are letting Brewer and a bunch of young guys sprint up and down the floor. They have to keep the tempo methodical.
How to watch
The game tips off at 7:30 PM Central on FSSW and NBA League Pass.