One down, three to go.

The Los Angeles Lakers got by the New Orleans Hornets in six games, which was two games more than many people thought, so now they have to win three more series if they want to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the third straight years.

The Dallas Mavericks are the next team that stand in the Lakers way, and they pose a problemm for the Los Angeles.

Both the Lakers and the Mavs won 57 games in the regular season, but the Lakers will have the much-coveted home court advantage in the best-of-seven series starting at Staples Center on Monday night.

The Mavericks have one of the best scoring big men in the NBA in sharp shooter Dirk Nowiztki. They also have a veteran point guard in Jason Kidd.

Both Nowitzki and Kidd have never won a ring, and they're desperate to change that.

Dallas has the advantage of having a quality defensive center in Tyson Chandler. With Chandler and Nowitzki, the Lakers will have some trouble scoring down low with their big men, Andrew Bynum and Paul Gasol.

Shawn Marion and DeShawn Stevenson will share defensive duties against Kobe Bryant. The Lakers' star guard scored 28 points in the last meeting, a 110-82 victory at Staples Center.

The Lakers won two of three meetings, and with Dallas lacking a fast point guard, the Lakers won't have to worry about the defensive mismatch at the position as they did against Chris Paul in Round One.

Perhaps the key player for Dallas will be Jason Terry. The 6'2 combo guard is coming off a strong series against the Portland Trail Blazers, and in three games against the Lakers he went for point totals of 22, 13, and five. Should Terry heat up, the Mavericks might pull off a monumental upset.

The Lakers will need a big series from Lamar Odom. The lanky forward has been inconsistent over the years, but his size and rebounding skills will be vital for the Lakers to get production off the bench.

SERIES PREDICTION: The Mavericks will give the Lakers a tough time, but the defending champions will squeak out a road victory when they need one, and take the series.

Lakers in six.