The early season has not been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers, literally or figuratively. They started 0-2 before a fight with the Houston Rockets seemed to give them a slight mental boost. They won two of their next three games after that with Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram sidelined due to suspensions. Now that both of them are back, however, the Lakers have gone back to struggling. They lost a nail-biter against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and then another close game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. That leaves them with an 0-4 record with Rondo on the floor and an 0-3 mark with Ingram.
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Lakers
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018 • 10:30 PM ET
Staples Center • Los Angeles, CA
Local TV: FSSW-DAL, SpecSN
Radio: 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES
They’ll both have a chance to earn their first win of the season on Wednesday in a game that they should be heavily favored in. The Dallas Mavericks are traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, and they share a 2-5 record with the home team. Unlike the Lakers, though, they do not have a superstar like LeBron James to rely on. They are built around rookie wing Luka Doncic and second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr.
The game between the Lakers and the Mavericks will begin at 10:30 Eastern Time, 7:30 Pacific Time and will be broadcast on Spectrum Sportsnet in Los Angeles Bill Macdonald and Stu Lantz broadcasting and Mike Trudell as the sideline report. As it is not going to be nationally televised, it will be streamed on NBA League Pass for all out of market fans. The local radio broadcast will air on 710 ESPNLA with John Ireland and Mychal Thompson on the call, and a list of other radio affiliates in the region can be found here.
The story of this game will be the continued reintegration of Ingram and Rondo. The Lakers seemed to find some stability in their rotation with both of them out, but they found it difficult to adequately allocate minutes and touches on Monday with both of them back in the lineup. Josh Hart was forced back onto the bench on Monday and played in only 24 minutes in this game despite being instrumental earlier in the season. Lance Stephenson, who thrived without Rondo to eat into his touches, has fallen back to his more typical numbers. The Lakers are in the enviable position of having too many good players, which has unfortunately led to some of them not playing as well as they are capable of.
Luke Walton will continue to make tweaks to the rotation until he figures out which combinations work best with one another. That is a process that will take time, and losses are going to accumulate in the interim. But this team is playing competitive basketball. They have five losses and all of them have been close. Eventually, the pendulum is going to swing in the other direction.