Lakers Vs. Mavericks Predictions: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Depth Too Much

When the Los Angeles Lakers line up across from the Dallas Mavericks, there's one incredible imbalance on the court: Kobe Bryant vs. the Mavericks guards. Bryant's not just the best wing in the series -- he laps the competition. It's unclear which Maverick will draw first duty on Kobe; DeShawn Stevenson is a likely candidate. While limiting Bryant to poor shooting is possible, Kobe was electric against the Hornets, and had great success against Dallas in the regular season.

Beyond that, while Dirk Nowitzki is a force to be reckoned with, L.A. has nothing if not a great frontcourt. Pau Gasol isn't a great defender, and Dirk is too good a shooter from Andrew Bynum to chase him down. But Nowitzki can't escape a tough match-up on the other end, and the Lakers showed in the New Orleans series that even if one big man is struggling, the team can still win. Gasol had a rough few games against Emeka Okafor, but the Lakers still skated to a 4-2 series win.

Dallas need a lot of things to go right to challenge the Lakers. I'd prefer to bet on the two-time defending champs maintaining their performance. Lakers in 6.

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