Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

The Dallas Mavericks have won four of their past five games as they continue a strong late-season push for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling to hang on to their postseason hopes.

That makes Tuesday evening's clash between two of the three most recent NBA champions all the more critical.

The Lakers sit in a tie for eighth in the Western Conference with the Utah Jazz thanks to a hard-fought, 103-98 road victory against the Sacramento Kings. Superstar Kobe Bryant passed Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on the all-time scoring list and also dished out 14 assists with just one turnover.

Dirk Nowitzki's season-high 35 points and clutch three-pointer made the difference in Dallas' 100-98 home triumph over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The 15-year veteran continues to round into form after missing the first 27 games while rehabbing from knee surgery.

Here is a breakdown of the key developments to watch in this exciting late-season clash, including predictions as to how this showdown will play out in the Staples Center.


When: Tuesday, April 2, at 10:30 p.m. ET

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.


Records: Dallas Mavericks (36-37), Los Angeles Lakers (38-36)


Injuries (h/t ESPN)

Dallas—Jared Cunningham (knee) OUT

Los Angeles—Steve Nash (hip/back) Day-to-day


Key Storyline: Will Injury Bug Continue to Bite Lakers?

Without the services of star point guard Steve Nash—who left the Kings game in the first quarter and is day-to-day, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports—and a torn meniscus for Metta World Peace, the Lakers' turbulent season continues.

Bryant is up to his old tricks in grinding through painful ailments to keep his team alive in the postseason hunt. All five of ...

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