It's Christmas and waiting under the tree for the Dallas Mavericks is a primetime matchup with Lebron James and the defending-champion Lakers.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated Christmas game, both James and Mavs star Luka Doncic have spoken highly of one another.
“I love everything Luka stands for,'' Lebron has said.
Doncic echoed, ""I look up to him (Lebron) as an idol.''
Both teams dropped their regular-season openers are are looking for their first win of the 2020-21 season. After Dallas’ loss, Luka looked forward to this one by being deferential to James, Doncic saying that he himself is not yet worthy of being “a face of the league.”
Nevertheless. This marquee matchup is all about anticipation of just that.
FINAL - Lakers 138, Mavs 113: The Dallas Mavericks broke out their Christmas presence, and they broke out their holiday-friendly green uniforms. What they could not break were a series of habits, that in addition to L.A.'s obvious superiority, led to a second straight loss to start the 2020-21 NBA season.
There were individual Mavs moments, of course; Luka (27 points) is always going to give the audience that. But Anthony Davis was unstoppable inside with 28 points and eight rebounds, and LeBron James was good for 22 points, 10 assists and seven boards. Mavs nemesis Montrezl Harrell had 22 points and seven rebounds.
The Mavericks are on the right path here, no doubt. But the “right path” isn’t the same thing as the “same plane” – and Dallas is not on the same plane with a defending -champion Lakers.
HALF - Lakers 69, Mavs 57: The Mavs wish to pride themselves on their defense this year, but so far it's no match for LA. With Kyle Kuzma beating the halftime buzzer for 3, the Lakers get to 69 points, are shooting 60.5% from the field and have nine 3-pointers.
LeBron (14 points, seven assists), of course, does it all ...
And Anthony Davis (18 points, 6 boards), of course, can do the same.
Dallas is led by Luka's 11 points (with 3 assists and three rebounds).
FIRST Q - LA 33, DAL 31: Lakers are shooting over 58 percent from the field as these survived an eye-poke to Anthony Davis (maybe the only way to stop him) and. ...
Maybe the Mavs are simply hungry as Dallas didn't get to have a team Christmas dinner, according to Rachel Nichols on the ABC broadcast.
At least the Mavs are wearing their green uniforms - "Christmas green,'' if you will ... and the unselfishness is in place, too. ....
Doggone it , our man Dwight Powell seems overmatched again.
The crew at DBcom has discussed in-depth, for awhile, why Powell shouldn’t be the starting C. Not his fault; he’s a role-playing specialist who is being asked to do things that are beyond him.
STARTERS: The starting lineups: Mavs starters: Hardaway, Finley-Smith. Powell, Richardson, Doncic.
Lakers starters: James, Davis, Gasol, Caldwell-Pope, Schroder.
LEBRON'S GOT JOKES: LeBron James is a few days away from his 36th birthday and he's in the joking mood. James vows not to miss the game Friday despite an ankle problem sustained in the Lakers' regular season opener vs. the Clippers. In fact, Lebron laid out a fool-proof rehab plan for his turned ankle.
"I turned it pretty good, but I don't think it's going to stop me from playing on Friday," James said after sitting out the final eight minutes of Wednesday loss to the Clippers.
"I'll go home and have dinner right now," James joked. "I'll ice it, and I'll drink some wine that will flow right to the ankle. ... I can make sure I can drink on the left side of my body so it just goes right down to my left leg, right down to my ankle.''
FUN FACT: This will be LeBron’s 13th consecutive Christmas appearance.
LUKA MAGIC: Doncic enters the 2020-21 season as the MVP favorite after his dynamic performance in the NBA bubble in Orlando. The 21-year-old finished with 32 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in the Mavs loss to the Suns on Wednesday. The anticipation is high for more Luka Magic.
RECORDS: Dallas Mavericks (0-1, 0-1 Away) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (0-1, 0-1 Home)
BETTING ODDS: The Mavs are 6.5-point underdogs to the Lakers. The total over/under is 223 total point.
BETTING TREND: The Inder is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings between the Mavs and Lakers, and 5-0 in the last five meetings at the Staples Center.
WHEN: Friday, Dec 25, 2020 at 7 p.m. CT
LOCATION: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV/RADIO: ESPN, ESPN 103.3 Radio
THE FINAL WORD
“We got to look at this and really study ourselves and see the things we need to clean up,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And then we’re going to have to do a study on the Lakers, figure out what the best matchups and coverages are going to be for us defensively. Look, that’s the world champs. We’re obviously going to have to play a high-level game.”