The Mavericks have three 7-footers on their team and another
player who is a solid 6-11.
And they are going to be the small team on the court tonight
against the Lakers at Staples Center.
The Lakers almost always have the size advantage against
anybody, thanks to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, both of whom are at least 7-feet
and in Bynum’s case, probably bigger.
But it’s not the biggest of the Lakers that give them
the decided advantage in the physicality department.
Their guards, along with small forward Ron Artest, are more
physical than just about anybody else’s smaller players.
Basically, the Lakers are bigger and stronger at every
position than the Mavericks are, with the possible exception of point guard.
But in that case, Jason Kidd doesn’t guard Derek Fisher. He’s
usually matched up against Ron Artest.
“You look at Kobe (Bryant) and Artest, big guys,
athletic and they know how to play,’’ Kidd said.
“They’re a big, long team, so we’re going to have our hands
In the interior, it’s even worse. While everybody
equates the Lakers with Kobe, he’s not the thing that makes them unique.
“Playing against their big guys is a tough
challenge,’’ said Brendan Haywood, who had a solid night Wednesday
against the Clippers. “They have two of the best in the league in Gasol
and Bynum. And (Lamar) Odom, the way he’s played this year, has been
phenomenal. They have one of the most talented front lines in the league. We
have to try to rebound with them and be physical with them and hopefully give
our team the edge inside instead of letting them have it.’’
It’s the only way the Mavericks can hope to send any
kind of message tonight in the final regular-season meeting against the Lakers.
“(The Lakers) are a different kind of challenge,’’
said Rick Carlisle. “They’re a very difficult physical matchup for
every team that plays them. Our job is to make it be our kind of game.
That’s never easy to do, but it starts with efficiency with the ball. And
we have to play hard and smart.’’