After two consecutive losses to start the season, the Lakers host the less-than-healthy Dallas Mavericks (1-1) on Sunday night.
For the first time in more than a season, the Lakers do not have any players listed on their injury report.
While Dallas guard/forward Wesley Matthews (Achilles’) is probable, guard Deron Williams (knee) and forward Chandler Parsons (knee) are questionable. Parsons has yet to play this season.
Center JaVale McGee has also been sidelined since joining the Mavericks with a leg injury.
In what is essentially Julius Randle’s first season after he broke his leg on opening night of his rookie campaign, the power forward has already matched up with Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves and DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings.
Against Dallas, he’ll draw the NBA’s former most valuable player in Dirk Nowitzki.
While Nowitzki has never been a defensive force, he’s arguably the most talented shooting seven-footer in league history.
Nowitzki has averaged just 13.5 points a game thus far this season, but he’s capable of giving the Mavericks well over 20 on Sunday.
Randle played well on opening night against the Timberwolves, but struggled against the Kings. The Mavericks should be an opportunity for a big game for the former Kentucky forward.
Dallas has a number of guards, all capable of big nights, including veterans J.J. Barea, Raymond Felton, Williams and Matthews -- although the latter two are still working to get 100% healthy.
Matthews has recently started at small forward, which would match him up against Kobe Bryant.
Mavericks newcomer John Jenkins had a strong preseason, and a good showing against the Clippers.
Offensively, the Lakers are led by Bryant at 18.5 points a game, but he’s shooting just 36.1% from the field. Jordan Clarkson has been more efficient at 18 a game on 55.6% shooting.
Roy Hibbert is the only Lakers power player in double figures at 11.0 points a night.
Defensively, outside of Hibbert, the Lakers have not fared well through two games.
Even short-handed, Dallas has a capable, well-coached team.
The Lakers are coming off a terrible loss to the Sacramento Kings. They should be able to rebound with a stronger game, and the win, against the Mavericks.