Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo soars toward the hoop for a layup against the Knicks… (Tom Fox / McClatchy-Tribune )
The Lakers opened the season on Oct. 30 at Staples Center with a 116-106 loss to the Mavericks. On Saturday they'll get a chance to avenge that loss in Dallas, although they'll have to do it on the second night of back-to-back games.
Playing without Dirk Nowitzki (knee), the Mavericks (7-6) have gotten career numbers from guard O.J. Mayo, who is averaging 22.2 points a game. Darren Collison has also been a force at point guard with 13.8 points and 6.5 assists.
The Lakers (6-7) have lost two consecutive games, including a 106-98 loss on Friday night in Memphis, but can climb back to .500 with their first win on the road.
Mayo has been the driving force offensively for the Mavs, shooting 56.8% from three-point range. Kobe Bryant is going to have to take him seriously.
Naturally, Mayo will have to deal with Bryant, who is averaging 27.5 points a game on 50.8% shooting from the field, 41.3% from behind the arc and 88.3% from the line.
Shawn Marion was a problem for the Lakers on opening night and that's nothing new. Even at 34 years old, Marion is a capable defender and rebounder.
The Lakers need to win with a lot of energy but Marion always seems to bring just a little bit more. The counter would be Antawn Jamison, who finally gave a glimpse of what the Lakers expected when they signed him this summer, scoring a season-high 16 against the Grizzlies.
On a second night of back-to-back games and the fourth game in five nights, the Lakers will be hard-pressed to get a win in Dallas.
Their chances might actually increase after dropping two in a row, given how much of the game is based on mental focus.
The bigger question will be stamina, especially for center Dwight Howard, who is still working his way back into shape from offseason surgery, and Pau Gasol, who has been overloaded with minutes.
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You can email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.