The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks will square off on Wednesday night with possible NBA playoff implications on the line when the game tips off at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.
The Dallas Mavericks started off rather slow this season, but the veteran-laden roster seems to be peaking at the right time as they are currently on a four-game winning streak. Hitting the five-game milestone won't be easy, however, as Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers loom on Wednesday night.
The Mavericks picked up a win in just one of their first five games to start the lockout-truncated season, but have jumped on Dirk Nowitzki's back during their recent winning streak. The crafty German is averaging 28.5 points during the winning streak -- one he'll look to continue when the Lakers touch down in Dallas for Wednesday night's 9:30 p.m. tip scheduled to be televised live on ESPN.
The Lakers haven't been nearly as impressive as of late considering their back-to-back losses to the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. In Tuesday night's loss to the Rockets, Bryant needed 27 shot attempts to get to 29 points and Andrew Bynum was ejected before he could pick up the slack.
Wednesday night's game could have playoff implications, too, as Tom Ziller explained in his latest look at the NBA playoff picture:
In the East, it's primarily about seeding. In the West, we have 7-9 teams truly quarreling over 3-5 playoff spots. (I change my mind on whether the Dallas Mavericks are in trouble depending on the weather. The Mavericks are tied with the L.A. Clippers, so I can't very well leave one in danger and not the other.)
The Oklahoma City Thunder will almost assuredly be the West's No. 1 seed. There is an exceptional likelihood that the San Antonio Spurs will be the No. 2 seed. The L.A. Lakers are currently slated for the No. 3 seed, but seem safe to make the bracket regardless.