Since We Saw Them Last: Mavericks

When the Lakers and Mavericks face off on Sunday, both teams will be seeing decidedly different rosters following two blockbuster trades. For the Lakers, they’ll now have to deal with Jason Kidd in a Dallas uniform after the Mavs traded for the perennial All-Star a few weeks ago. On Dallas’ end, they’ll get their first look at the new-look Lakers with Pau Gasol, but still won’t be facing L.A. at full strength due to Andre Bynum’s injury.

The last time the two teams met, the Mavs defeated the Lakers 112-105 at home, using a key fourth quarter run to win a game that the Lakers controlled for much of the 48 minutes. In that game, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard torched the Lakers for 52 points as the purple and gold was unable to thwart Dallas’ attack late in the game.

In past years, Lakers vs. Mavs games at STAPLES Center have led to several memorable moments, with Kobe’s 62-point performance and the Lakers’ 27-point comeback still fresh in many fans’ eyes. Last season, Sasha Vujacic and the Lakers downed the surging Mavs at home in early January in what was arguably the regular season game of the year for L.A.

The Lakers need to bounce back strong after a road loss to Portland on Friday that ended their season-long 10-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Mavs have shaken off some early adjustment problems following the Kidd trade to win four of their last five, including a 115-106 over Sacramento two nights ago. It may be a matinee affair, but both teams figure to be energized from the tip with only a few games separating Dallas and L.A. in the Western Conference playoff standings.