Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks 12/15/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks Matchup Preview (12/15/21)

The Doncic-less Mavericks will host the Los Angeles Lakers, who are tragically underperforming this season; however, they still have LeBron James, who has been playing some phenomenal basketball. Since returning from his abdominal injury, LeBron has put up big stat lines, averaging nearly 30 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists on a very efficient 52% shooting. The Lakers have won three of their past four, with the only loss coming against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are on fire right now, even without Ja Morant. LeBron will ultimately dictate how far the Lakers go this season; it won’t be up to Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook. Only James can put a team on his back and carry them up the proverbial mountain.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks will be without Luka Doncic for another game due to a lingering ankle injury. Doncic is no stranger to dealing with sprained ankles, and it would be shocking if Dallas rushed him back. When Doncic has been absent this season, guard Jalen Brunson has stepped up in a big way. It is slightly surprising that Brunson still does not start alongside Doncic when he is healthy because he deserves a spot. Another key to the Mavs’ success is Kristaps Porzingis, who is fresh off, dropping 24 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks against the Charlotte Hornets. This game could go either way, so take a peek below at a more detailed analysis to see if there is an advantage.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks Betting Odds

It will be interesting to watch these two teams face-off, considering they are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in their pace of play. The Lakers play a much higher tempo game, while Dallas loves to work in the half-court. Without Doncic, I’m just having the most challenging time seeing how Dallas keeps this game close. The only aspect of this game that could make you feel bullish about the Mavs would be the fact that the Lakers have struggled all season defending guards. Therefore, if you feel strongly that Brunson could go for 30+, then maybe stay away from the Lakers ATS. Otherwise, that’s how I’m leaning, even though I deplore betting with the Lakers.

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/15/21
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
Channel: ESPN

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Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Wayne Ellington
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Los Angeles Lakers Analysis

As I mentioned earlier, the Lakers will only go as far as LeBron can carry them. When LeBron is playing well, they are all playing well and can beat most teams. The question surrounding them is whether he can shoulder the weight of an entire team like he used to. This off-season’s plan was more geared towards James becoming a secondary option and having enough help to not feel so relied upon all the time, but it has not worked. It would not be surprising to see the Lakers make a few moves in the next six to eight weeks to shake up their roster. Talen Horton-Tucker is a name that keeps popping up over and over again, but it is still not clear whether he is a tradable player for Los Angeles or not. Regardless, the Lakers need more shooters to surround LeBron with and better defenders to help them excel on that end like they did last season.

Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Reggie Bullock
SF: Dorian Finney-Smith
PF: Kristaps Porzingis
C: Dwight Powell

Dallas Mavericks Analysis

The Dallas Mavericks without Luka Doncic are slightly less pathetic than you might expect; they are 2-4 in six games with him on the sideline. Jalen Brunson is a huge reason the Mavs have been able to hang in there without him. Brunson has been a winner at every level of basketball he has played at, so his impact is hardly a surprise. Still, Brunson’s ability to patch up some of the voids that Doncic leaves could be described as impressive. When Brunson starts for the Mavs, he averages 20.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game, which would be All-Star numbers if maintained throughout the season.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks Daily Fantasy Picks

I don’t see a world where I could recommend any Los Angeles Lakers player besides LeBron James. LeBron has played incredibly well since returning from his abdominal injury. In his past eight games, LeBron has averaged 29.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, eight assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game on 52% from the field. While LeBron does not rely as much on his explosiveness and athleticism on a play-by-play basis, that certainly does not mean that it is not there. He has still been flying through the air for a patented chase-down block and finishing with incredible power and strength around the rim. We may never see a player like LeBron again in our lifetime, who has been able to keep his body in such great shape and still dominate through three different decades. The scariest aspect of this is that it does not look like he plans on slowing down any time soon. It would be best if you rode LeBron’s hot streak in DFS as long as you can. Even though he is an expensive player to utilize in your lineup, you should still try to plug him in.

When Luka Doncic is out with an injury, Jalen Brunson is an immediate must-play in DFS. Why Brunson does not start for the Mavs, regardless of whether or not Doncic is healthy, is beyond me. They can co-exist, especially since Brunson can still be effective off the ball: his usage rate does not have to be out-of-this-world for him to make a significant impact. Still, when Doncic is out, Brunson has been incredible, averaging 20.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and one steal per game.

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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