After a 0-3 start, the Dallas Mavericks are once again looking like the team that won the NBA Championship last season. They head into Monday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers riding a five-game winning streak and now sit at 8-5 after that horrible start.
An improved defense is the biggest part of the turnaround. Since allowing at least 105 points in each of their first three games, the most points the Mavericks have allowed is 99 and they've only given up as many as 90 twice. During the winning streak, they are allowing just 77.6 points per game.
Their most recent game, a 99-60 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, was probably their most impressive. The Kings scored just 23 points in the first quarter and were held to just 25.6 percent shooting from the field. It was the fewest points the Mavericks had allowed in franchise history.
The Lakers (9-5) should be a much bigger test. Kobe Bryant comes into this game having scored at least 40 points in each of his past four game. Prior to their loss to the Los Angeles Clipper on Saturday, the Lakers had won five straight.
When: Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles