- The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers matchup on Christmas Day
- Both teams are 0-1 after losses to the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers to open the season respectively
- Get the latest odds, betting discussion and a pick below
The fourth of five consecutive games on Christmas Day, the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers matchup at 8pm ET. Dallas is looking to bounce back from an opening night loss to the Phoenix Suns, while the Lakers are hoping to avoid an 0-2 start after a subpar performance against the Clippers on Tuesday.
There’s concern over LeBron James’ ankle after he tweaked it late on against the Clippers, but the four-time MVP is expected to play on Friday. James’ presence is a contributing factor in the Lakers being six-point favorites over Dallas.
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total Points at FanDuel|
|Dallas Mavericks||+6.5 (-110)||+225||Over 229.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6.5 (-110)||-275||Under 229.5 (-110)|
Odds taken on Dec 24 from FanDuel
Doncic’s Slow Start
Luka Doncic scored 32 points against the Suns, yet he was far from his best. It took him 26 shots to amass those points – he shot under 43% from the field and went 0-for-6 from deep. As Kristaps Porzingis remains sidelined, Doncic’s usage is going to be higher than ever. Seth Curry’s departure weakened Dallas offensively, too. The Slovenian had less space to operate on Wednesday as the Suns collapsed the defense and helped aggressively whenever Doncic went into the paint.
The Mavs went 1-3 against the Lakers last season. Doncic had some highlight moments, and some great duels with LeBron, but he shot under 50% in all four games. The Lakers have the size and defensive versatility to make it difficult for the third-year phenom.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, James and Wesley Matthews will all take turns guarding Doncic. Anthony Davis’ presence at the rim will be a challenge for the former Real Madrid star, too.
Vogel on Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell: "Those guys are going to be big time players for us this year. I was very encouraged.”
Schroder: 14 points, 12 boards, 8 assists/1 turnover, 5 of 15 FG’s,
Harrell: 17 points, 10 boards, 3 assists, 6 of 7 FG’s
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 23, 2020
Dallas need Doncic at his best to stand a chance on Friday. Doncic’s outside shot is important, but so is the shooting of Tim Hardaway, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Maxi Kleber. That quartet combined for eight threes on 28 attempts against Phoenix – that’s not a winning formula for the Mavs, particularly without Porzingis.
The Lakers roster experienced major change over the offseason. With a shortened training camp and very limited preseason, it will take time for all the new pieces to develop chemistry. Foul trouble held Marc Gasol to a minor role on opening night, and Frank Vogel went deep into his bench as he experiments with different line-up configurations.
Dennis Schroder looked good, and Montrezl Harrell played significant minutes, but the Lakers looked like a team searching for rhythm. That’s unsurprising, of course, after the shortest offseason in league history. The Lakers are not going to overly exert themselves early in the campaign (Davis and James played a combined 58 minutes) – that could make them vulnerable to the Mavericks, a team with the offensive firepower to take this game deep.
Congrats, fellas. You've earned this 💍 pic.twitter.com/tEBLjQRqAo
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 23, 2020
Schroder and Harrell playing big minutes is fine. There’s no question the Lakers have improved their depth, but it makes them a weaker defensive team. While Schroder has improved on that end of the floor, Harrell will be targeted by Doncic.
The total points line might seem high given the low-scoring games these two played to start the season, but the Phoenix performance is more of an anomaly than the norm for Dallas. The Lakers will create plenty of offense on Friday through Davis, James, Schroder and Harrell. The Mavs showed no sign of a leap forward on the defensive end against the Suns – Doncic’s effort was inconsistent and Hardaway is still a weakness on that end.
Luka Doncic on clutch shot selection: "I've got to stop taking these very bad shots. It wasn't just the last one, but it was a couple of them. It's not good for me, it's not good for the team and I've got to change it."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 24, 2020
Only so much can be read in to the first round of games, however. The Mavericks’ offense might not have been at its best, but that doesn’t mean they will struggle on Christmas Day. Players are allowed to miss shots.
It’s tempting to back the Mavs to cover, but the over feels a safer bet.
Pick: Over 229.5 total points (-110)
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