The Lakers were swept by Dallas in last year's Western Conference semifinals after winning two of three meetings during the regular season, and look to get back into the win column tonight before hitting the road to Florida. The Lakers, who will visit Miami and Orlando after hosting Dallas, had a five-game winning streak stopped with Saturday's 102-94 loss to the rival Clippers.
"We talked about how they focused on the glass and they just did a terrific job on the boards," Bryant said on the team's website. "Seventeen offensive rebounds is a lot of offensive rebounds. That's the area that really killed us. We did a pretty good job defensively in holding them to a low shooting percentage, but 17 offensive rebounds and 25 second-chance points, that's tough to deal with."
Los Angeles enters tonight's test with Dallas having won eight in a row at home since losing to Chicago in Hollywood on Christmas Day. Former Laker and current Maverick Lamar Odom will face his old team since he was traded to the defending champions in the offseason.
Dallas has won five straight and seven of eight games, including Saturday's 99-60 blowout of the Sacramento Kings in Big D.
Jason Terry scored 21 points and Dirk Nowitzki netted 14 for the Mavs, who welcome back veteran point guard Jason Kidd after he missed four games with a lower back injury. Kidd had five points, six assists and six steals for Dallas, which posted 68 bench points and has recorded 16 straight home wins over the Kings.
"We just talk about doing our job. When you have three guys that could possibly be All-Stars coming off the bench you should dominate. Our chemistry on the offensive end is not where we want it to be, but defensively if just compete and put out that extra effort every night on the defensive end we're going to be in a lot of ball games and win our fair share," Terry said after Dallas notched its sixth straight win at home.
The Mavericks will open a four-game road trip tonight against the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz and Hornets, and are 2-3 away from home this season. Kidd needs two more steals for 2,500 in his career.