The Mavericks vs. Lakers series is sure full of storylines. Given the success of Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki this decade, it's amazing that they have not faced each other in a playoff series. My guess is that storyline is going to dominate the discussion as this get underway.
As far as it actually affecting the series, though? I don't think it'll make much of a difference. Both guys will get their points, even with some pretty good defenders assigned to them. DeShawn Stevenson and Shawn Marion is a better duo than most teams have to throw at Kobe, and Pau Gasol's length could easily bother Nowitzki. But really, both guys should have no problem doing their thing offensively.
The series will instead come down to rebounding, and here, the Lakers have a huge advantage. The size of Andrew Bynum was the huge key against the Hornets, and it'll be the key again in this series. Dallas is bigger than New Orleans, and they are better on the glass, but I'm not sure how they plan on keeping both Bynum and Gasol off the offensive boards. Nowitzki is still a phenomenal player, but his defensive rebounding has declined as he's gotten older. Tyson Chandler can control the boards by himself most of the time, but he'll need help in this series, and I doubt he gets it.
For the Mavericks to win, they need to really be making shots to counteract the obvious deficiency they have on the glass. That's a tall order against an excellent Lakers defense in a seven-game series. The Mavericks are an excellent team that should push the Lakers, but it's hard for me to see them winning. The pick: Lakers in 6.