Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Wright

Lakers at Mavericks: What to watch with ESPN Dallas

March, 21, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky

For the Lakers, a two-game losing streak threatens to dampen the good vibes since the acquisition of new point guard Ramon Sessions, plus swelling hopes for home-court advantage throughout much of the playoffs. For the Mavericks, a four-game winning streak could signal stability after an inconsistent, sometimes turbulent season. Will either team find its path interrupted? We'll see, but after Lakers losses to shorthanded Jazz and Rockets squads, Brendan Haywood and Delonte West being definitely out for the Mavs, plus the possibility of Shawn Marion missing the game, doesn't feel like asset. Any scenario offering the Lakers an excuse to dial back their execution and focus feels dangerous, especially on the road.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
It could take a few more games before the Lakers figure out how best to use Ramon Sessions.

For a look at what may lie ahead, I had an instant message conversation with Jeff Caplan, who covers the Mavs for ESPN Dallas. Below is the transcript.

Andy Kamenetzky:
So what's the latest on Marion? He's always a key factor in defending Kobe Bryant.

Marion indeed has been terrific against Kobe this year, limiting him to 14.5 points a game, which is like half his league-leading average, and below 30 percent from the field. His left knee has been sore for weeks, but finally forced him out. It was examined Monday and no structural damage was found. I suspect he plays against L.A., but don't hold me to that.

How do you think the Lakers will be different with Ramon Sessions?

AK: In theory, they'll be running more pick-and-roll, and there's a legitimate threat beyond Kobe at the wing to attack the rim. He's also the fastest point guard since Jordan Farmar, but with a bigger role on the horizon. So in other words, very different, and there will be adjustments for everyone involved. Sessions has to learn the playbook and where his teammates like the ball. Sessions' teammates must get used to his speed, and working with a player not named "Kobe" who keeps the rock in his hands so often. (In particular, the Mamba, who hasn't played with a guard this ball dominant since Nick Van Exel.) And most importantly, Brown must figure out the best ways to mesh his new acquisition, a test for a coach not known for offensive creativity. But with everyone cooperating, it's a marriage that should be tremendously beneficial.

Speaking of marriages (Obligatory Khloe joke alert!!!), what's the latest with "As Lamar Odom turns?"

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Kobe Bryant
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.9
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.6
BlocksE. Davis 1.3