Carroll's Keys: Mavericks-Lakers 

April, 14, 2012
By John Carroll | Scouts Inc.

Sunday’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers is not only a rematch of last year's Western Conference semifinals, but could be a preview of a first-round matchup in this year’s playoffs. The Mavs are currently 34-26 and holding on to sixth place in the West. They have six games remaining in the regular season and any stumbles along the way could put them in peril of not making the playoffs.

The Lakers are up 3-0 versus the Mavericks this season and they are looking to sweep the season series with a win on Sunday. Kobe Bryant has sat out four consecutive games for the Lakers with a shin injury, but there's an outside chance he could be available for the Dallas game. The Lakers are currently 38-22 and have won three games in a row without Bryant. The Lakers have been 61-37 without Kobe over his entire career in Los Angeles, but they have no chance of winning a playoff series with this year’s team if he is not on the court at 100 percent.