The Los Angeles Lakers were as active as any team in the offseason, in hopes of putting together a championship team. After two straight disappointing finishes in the playoffs, L.A. traded for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
Now, the new-look Lakers are ready to play a meaningful game for the first time. They are set to host the Dallas Mavericks on opening night of the 2012-2013 NBA Season. The game will air on Tuesday on TNT at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can watch a free live stream online on NBA TNT Overtime.
The Lakers traded for both Nash and Howard in the summer, but the starting lineup hasn’t had much time to play together. Howard underwent back surgery in April, and was only able to participate in two exhibition games.
The entire starting lineup was only together for one preseason game. Kobe Bryant suffered a right foot strain and sat out the team’s two contests. He missed several practices, but will be ready to go in the opener.
While Bryant will play for L.A., the Mavericks will be without their star player. Dirk Nowitzki underwent knee surgery two weeks before the start of the season, and could miss most of the team’s games until 2013.
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In Nowitzki’s place, Elton Brand will get the start at power forward. Entering his 14th season, Brand will be playing with the Mavericks for the first time. He averaged 11 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the 76ers last year.
Perhaps the most surprising starter in the game will be Eddy Curry. The former first-round draft pick has played just 24 games in the past four years, but will start for an injured Chris Kaman. The seven-footer once averaged close to 20 points a game, but has recently toiled on the Heat and Knicks benches.
In just his second start since 2008, Curry faces the tough task of going up against Howard and Pau Gasol. Los Angeles should have a major advantage in the frontcourt, and could dominate the paint.
With the Mavericks injuries and the Lakers newest additions, Las Vegas oddsmakers expect a victory for L.A. The consensus betting line has Los Angeles as nine-point favorites.
The Lakers struggled mightily in the preseason, losing all eight of their games. They have yet to prove that four potential All-Stars in the starting lineup can work together. However, with the injuries Dallas has suffered, they could be in for a long opening night.
Prediction: Los Angeles 100, Dallas 84