The Lakers (14-20) take to the road on Tuesday night, visiting the Mavericks (19-15) in Dallas.
Dallas has lost two consecutive games and five of their last 10, but the Lakers are in a true slump, dropping seven of their last eight despite playing five at home.
Can the injured Lakers climb out of their rut on the road against a quality team?
Regardless, they'll need to try without Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee).
After sitting out with bronchitis and a sinus infection, Pau Gasol has looked a lot healthier the last few games.
Over his last three, he's averaging 24.3 points, 11 rebounds, 3.3 blocked shots and 4.7 assists a game.
With so many injuries, the Lakers haven't been able to support Gasol's production, certainly not defensively.
Gasol and the Lakers will have to find a way to deal with Dirk Nowitzki, who is averaging 20.9 points a game while shooting 48.9% from the field, 41% from behind the arc and 89.8% from the line.
Nowitzki, with his jump shot, is very difficult to handle. The Lakers might use Gasol but others might get a chance on the Dallas star, including Shawne Williams, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre and even the rarely used Chris Kaman.
The Lakers have turned to second-year guard Kendall Marshall to orchestrate the team's offense.
Marshall, despite playing in the NBA Development League until a couple of weeks ago, is averaging 14.5 points, 16 assists and six rebounds through two starts for the Lakers.
In six appearances, Marshall is shooting 52.8% from the field, 47.1% from behind the arc and 100% from the line. The sample size is tiny, but he's been a bright spot over the last couple of games for the Lakers.
The Mavericks rely on a very different guard, the high-scoring Monta Ellis.
Ellis, in his first year with the Mavericks, is averaging 20 points and 5.8 assists per game.
Defensively the Lakers have been a mess in recent games. Ellis could (and should) be a big problem for the Lakers.
The Lakers did beat the Utah Jazz (11-25) recently but have otherwise looked overmatched on most nights.
Injuries have been too much to overcome and the Mavericks aren't likely to show clemency for the Lakers' woes.
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