NBA Game Preview: Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks

Dec 15, 2021

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Game: Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks 

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET 

Odds: Lakers -1, Mavericks +1 

Total: 215 

The Lakers are starting to right the ship in the 2021-22 season. It helps to be healthy and Anthony Davis could be back in the lineup tonight after missing two games. Los Angeles has won three of its last four games and travels to Dallas tonight. Pretty much everything bettors need to know about this game is on the Mavericks injury report. Leading scorer Luka Doncic is out for tonight and that will make it extremely difficult for Dallas. 

Without Doncic, the Mavericks will have to focus more on defense. That’s not a bad thing. On Monday night, Dallas held the NBA’s top-scoring team, Charlotte, to 96 points. In fact, in their last four games, the Mavs have held three opponents to 96 points or less. For the season, Dallas gives up 104.5 points per game which is good for sixth overall in the NBA.  

Defense has also been a focus for the Lakers recently. For most of the season, L.A. has been at or near the bottom of most defensive statistical categories. This is after a 2020-21 season in which the Lakers were one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. Over the past two weeks, L.A. is one of the top five defensive teams in the league. 

The Lakers beat Oklahoma City and Orlando in their last two games. They held each opponent to fewer than 100 points. Over their last three games, L.A. is giving up just 99 points per game which pales in comparison to their season number of 111.5. That ranks 26th in the league. In terms of defensive efficiency, the Lakers have managed to climb all the way up to No. 11. 

Defending Dallas without Doncic will be a bit easier. Doncic averages 25.6 points per game. If Davis plays – he’s listed as questionable – the Lakers will have a long body to defend Kristaps Porzingis who averages 19.5 points a game. Even with a full lineup that includes Doncic, the Mavericks don’t tear it up on the offensive end. Dallas averages 104.4 points per game which is 26th in the NBA. 

With the Lakers’ recent defensive success, it’s no surprise that the Under has hit in five of their last six games. Los Angeles is also 4-2 ATS in those six games. Dallas has trended Under all season. They are one of the league’s better defensive teams and at No. 26 in scoring, the Under is 17-8-2 overall in Mavs’ games this season.  

The Under is 9-3-1 in Mavericks home games and the Under has hit in the last five straight at American Airlines Center. The Under has cashed in seven straight Dallas games, but the Mavericks struggle to cover the spread when playing at home. Dallas has covered just four times in 13 home games this season.  

This will be the first meeting of the 2021-22 season between the two teams. Dallas won, covered, and the total went Under in their last game, which was also played at American Airlines Center.