In an exciting development for NBA fans, the Los Angeles Lakers are all set to welcome the Dallas Mavericks at the Crypto.com Arena this Wednesday. This matchup marks the third and final face-off of the season between the two teams.
The Mavericks, holding a strong track record, have won both previous games on November 22 and December 12 and have maintained a commanding presence over the Lakers since April 24, 2021, with eight victories in their last 10 encounters.
As of now, the Lakers' morale is riding high following their recent triumph against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a victory that could potentially propel them forward in the closely contested Western Conference. The Mavericks, meanwhile, bounced back impressively against the New Orleans Pelicans, even in the absence of their star player, Luka Doncic.
Lakers-Mavericks: Historic Rivalry
This upcoming game marks a significant milestone as it will be the 174th regular-season meeting between the Lakers and the Mavericks. Their rivalry dates back to November 7, 1980, and it wasn't until March 23, 1982, that the Mavericks claimed their first victory over the Lakers.
Historically, the Lakers have had the upper hand in this matchup with a 116-57 lead in head-to-head games. Both teams have faced their fair share of challenges this season, particularly with player injuries. The Mavericks have missed Luka Doncic in their last three games and Kyrie Irving for a substantial part of December due to a foot injury.
On the Lakers' side, key players LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been recurring figures on the injury report since late November. Despite minor injuries, both have continued to play, although the team has yet to experience a fully healthy roster this season.
As for the January 17 injury report, the Mavericks will be missing Dante Exum due to a right plantar sprain. He has been sidelined since January 3. Luka Doncic remains a question mark for the upcoming game with a sprained right ankle.
Derrick Jones Jr. and Grant Williams, despite minor injuries, are expected to play against the Lakers. Meanwhile, Greg Brown III and Olivier-Maxence Prosper are currently assigned to the NBA G League. The Lakers are showing signs of improvement on the injury front with only four players listed.
Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent are out, with Reddish missing due to a left knee effusion and Vincent recovering from left knee surgery. Anthony Davis is probable, likely to play against the Mavericks, while LeBron James is questionable with a left ankle issue, having played in the recent win over the Thunder but missed a game on January 13.
As the trade deadline approaches, the spotlight is on several NBA players who are considered unmovable, including Kawhi Leonard. This adds another layer of excitement and speculation to the already thrilling NBA season.