Lakers vs. Mavericks Pre-Game

Injury Update: Coach Jackson said that Vladimir Radmanovic–nursing a strained right calf–will not play in today’s afternoon matchup with the Mavs, but will travel with the team to Sacramento.

Before today’s game, Jackson reflected on the team’s recent 10-game wining streak, which ended abruptly in Portland two nights ago. After a series of defensive lapses in the opening four minutes of the fourth quarter–many involving pick and roll situations–Jackson said that the team went through a film session yesterday in an effort to avoid a similar problem against Dallas. Jackson also said that despite the fact that the 10-game streak was the Lakers longest since the 2003-04 season, the team knows that many of those wins came against inferior or undermanned opponents, so there is still the sense that they need to prove themselves against the league’s elite.

With injuries piling up on a regular basis all season long for the Lakers, Jackson said that Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom are playing more minutes than he would like at this stage of the season. However, help should be on the way with the hopeful return of Andrew Bynum and the impending return of Radmanovic. Jackson said that the two-day break following Tuesday night’s game against the Kings should also provide some much-needed rest for the team.

Looking ahead to today’s game, Jackson said that the Lakers will undoubtedly have to find a way to combat the matchup problems created by Mavericks newcomer Jason Kidd. With the perennial All-Star on board, the Lakers coach said that Dallas has essentially two strong point guards with Jason Terry still capable of playing big-time minutes for the Mavs.