National Basketball Association
Dallas at L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Friday, February 23, 2018
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Dallas Mavericks went into the All-Star break in 14th place in the Western Conference but managed to embroil themselves in a pair of off-court controversies during the week off. The Mavericks will try to return the focus to the court when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
Sports Illustrated published a report on a culture of misogyny within the Dallas organization on Tuesday night and owner Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 for publicly endorsing tanking. "I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs," Cuban said while being interviewed on the "House Call with Dr. J" podcast. "I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option.' (Commissioner) Adam (Silver) would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again." The Lakers could have been accused of tanking last season but are trying to win while developing the younger players on the roster the rest of the way and expect to get rookie point guard Lonzo Ball back from a knee injury on Friday. "It's gonna be really fun to have him out there pushing the basketball and putting guys in different spots and giving confidence to other guys," small forward Brandon Ingram told reporters of Ball. "It's just gonna make our offense even better."
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Southwest (Dallas), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (18-40):
While Mark Cuban might believe tanking is the best option for his team, the players and coaching staff seem to disagree. "I've talked to the team about that," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters of his team and tanking. "I've talked to Mark in great detail about it last night. He apologized profusely for those comments. I think he's embarrassed by it. ... As far as our team, we've played with a lot of fight all year long. We'll continue to do that and that's how we're going to proceed." Dallas is already giving big minutes to one rookie in point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who is averaging 14.8 points and 4.9 assists.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (23-34):
The offense is humming right along but Los Angeles broke down at the defensive end while integrating point guard Isaiah Thomas, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Cleveland, into the rotation. Getting Thomas and Ball on the floor together is a challenge the staff set out to solve over the All-Star break. "As a staff, we will spend (some of) the break coming up with ideas as far as what will be the most effective way for us to play with the new roster that we have," Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters before the break. "Go back and watch old footage, brainstorm a couple of different ideas. We will come up with some stuff."BUZZER BEATERS
1. Lakers PF Julius Randle is averaging 21.4 points on 62 percent shooting over the last five games.
2. Mavericks SF Doug McDermott is averaging 7.3 points in three games since being acquired from the New York Knicks at the trade deadline.
3. Los Angeles snapped a 14-game losing streak in the series with a 107-101 overtime win on Jan. 13 but fell 130-123 at Dallas on Feb. 10.PREDICTION:
Mavericks 116, Lakers 114
Stats and Records