Since We Saw Them Last: Mavericks

After a rough start to Part 2 of the Jason Kidd era in Dallas, the Mavericks have been on a roll of late, winners of five straight games. While the Mavs will certainly head into tomorrow night’s matchup with plenty of momentum, it should be noted that all five of their blowout wins came against some of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams–New Jersey, New York, Charlotte, Indiana and most recently, Miami.

While Jason Kidd’s adjustment to Dallas’ offensive and defensive schemes started out slow, the perennial All-Star has shows signs of improvement during the team’s streak, even if his six points and nine assist average for the past five games does not necessarily match the sentiment.

The last time the Lakers and Mavs met at STAPLES Center on March 2, they produced one of the best games in the NBA this season, with L.A. holding on for a 108-104 overtime win. In that game, Kobe turned in arguably his greatest performance this this season, scoring 52 points ad grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers in both categories.

The Lakers–already 0-2 on their critical four-game road trip against the West’s elite–need to find a way to stop Jason Kidd after allowing the Hornets’ Chris Paul and the Rockets’ Rafer Alston to step all over them in their two most recent losses. L.A. also needs to find a way to contain Dirk Nowitzki without Gasol or Bynum in the lineup. In their last meeting, Dirk torched the Lakers for 30 points, including a clutch, game-tying three pointer with seconds remaining in regulation.

The Lakers will have two chances to take the season series from Dallas, with the first coming in tomorrow night’s game and the second in an April 4 matinee affair.