Neither of these two teams figures to have much interest in winning basketball games down the stretch of the NBA regular season. Dallas enters Friday’s matchup with the third-worst record in the NBA at 18-40, while the Lakers pre-All-Star Break surge has taken them out of contention for one of the top spots in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Cuban says Mavs should tank
Dallas comes out of the All-Star Break having lost 9 of their last 12 games. The Mavs dropped their last game before All-Star Weekend 114-109 at home against the Sacramento Kings. J.J Barea finished that game as the team’s leading scorer with 19 points and added 13 assists on the night, while Harrison Barnes and Dwight Powell finished with 18 points apiece in a losing effort for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks’ organization has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. Sports Illustrated published an article detailing that the team facility had become a hostile work environment for women and Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban recently went on record to say that the team should tank this season. Cuban told Julius Erving on the “House Call with Dr. J” podcast that he had dinner with a bunch of his “guys” and said, “Look, losing is our best option.”
While head coach Rick Carlisle and franchise cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki have rushed to the defense of the team, it seems likely that the Mavericks have already thrown in the towel for the remainder of this season.
Lakers welcome back Lonzo Ball
The Lakers will welcome back rookie point guard Lonzo Ball for Friday’s game against the Mavericks. Ball has been sidelined for nearly six weeks with an MCL sprain, but the youthful Lakers seemed to hit their stride without the No. 2 overall pick in the lineup.
Julius Randle comes in playing arguably the best basketball of his career and Brandon Ingram seemed to flourish with the ball in his hands. Josh Hart has been a double-double machine from the shooting guard spot and rookie sensation Kyle Kuzma seems to have regained his scoring touch since the trade deadline.
Ball will return to a Lakers team that has lost three straight games, but the team should benefit from his pace and defense. L.A. comes in playing some of their worst defense of the season. The team has given up an average of 129.3 points per game during their three-game losing streak.
The Lakers are 7.4 points per 100 possessions better on the defensive end of the floor when Lonzo has been on the floor this season, so his presence should help them contain the Mavs on Monday night.
- Mavericks are 1-10-1 ATS in their last 12 Friday games.
- Mavericks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
- Lakers are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 home games.
- Lakers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
The Mavericks seem to have no interest in winning right now and the Lakers will be energized to have Lonzo Ball back in the lineup. The Lakers have arguably the best assembly of young talent in the NBA and they have a chance to grown as a unit down the stretch of the regular season. They have been much better on the defensive end with Lonzo on the floor, so I would expect that trend to continue on Friday night against a tanking Mavericks team. Look for the Lakers to cover the spread at home against Dallas on Friday night.