The Mavs will try and continue their rejuvenated attack against one of the best teams in the league tonight. What was looking like a blowout win for the Lakers a few days ago may be a tighter contest because of the return of a certain player. The Mavs beat the Lakers in their first meeting this year, but have lost the last two.
More on Pau Gasol's return from injury, the Laker's balanced attack without Gasol and Andrew Bynum's status after to jump:
Lakers get some Pau back in the lineup
After missing nine games with an ankle injury (nine games for an ankle, really?) Pau Gasol returned to the lineup Wednesday night against Portland and scored 10 points, grabbed 6 boards and handed out 7 assists in 31 minutes of action. Now that the rust has been knocked off and the Lakers are playing a seemingly tougher opponent, you can bet Gasol will have open run on the floor and the Mavs should be preparing for the same Laker attack they saw the last game and assume Gasol is 100 percent.
With Pau out, in came the balance
During Pau Gasol's absence, the rest of the Lakers stepped up to fill the void. Six Lakers averaged double digits in scoring and contributed to keep the Lakers afloat at 5-4 during that stretch. Not surprisingly, Kobe Bryant lifted the torch highest by averaging 31.1 points per game and scoring 53 in a loss to the Grizzlies. The extra run for the complimentary Lakers will likely help the Lakers during the final stretch of the season and during the playoffs.
Bynum still out
Good news for the Mavs is that Andrew Bynum is still a ways away from coming back. The young center has yet to play with Pau Gasol, and there is still no timetable for his return despite the recently added cardio and running workouts. He's been out since January 14 with a knee injury, and the Lakers obviously want him to be as close too 100 percent for a potentially deep playoff run.
When Bynum does return, how well will he mesh with Pau Gasol down low?