Thirteen years to the day after their last road victory over Los Angeles, the Mavericks will try to prevent the Lakers from winning their 28th straight regular-season game at Staples Center.
The Mavs have lost 26 straight road games to the Lakers since their last victory on Dec. 12, 1990. In trying to end that skid, Dallas will have to beat a Los Angeles team that hasn’t lost at home in the regular season since last Feb. 16.
The Lakers’ 27-game home winning streak is three shy of the franchise record, set in 1951 when they played in Minneapolis.
So far, the Lakers’ moves have paid off more. Los Angeles has the best record in the NBA, has won 10 straight games, and has dominated Dallas in two meetings this season.
Meanwhile, the Mavs are tied for the Midwest Division lead, but have struggled on the road, falling to 2-7 after Tuesday’s stunning loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. They have dropped four straight road games after going 27-14 away from home last season.
Dallas came out strong Tuesday after the return of Dirk Nowitzki, who had missed five games with a sprained ankle. The Mavs built a 22-point lead before falling 100-99 to the Clippers on Glen Rice’s jumper as time expired.
“The game was very disappointing,” Mavs coach Don Nelson said. “We really let them back in the game by doing some unlikely things. It was a comedy of errors out there.”
Nelson still needs one victory to tie Pat Riley—the Lakers’ coach when the Mavericks last won in Los Angeles—for second on the career wins list with 1,110.
He seems unlikely to get it Friday. Thanks in part to their home dominance of the Mavs, the Lakers have won five straight and 46 of the last 51 meetings in the series. Dallas hasn’t had a lead in either game this season, losing both by double digits.
“We match up against this team very well,” Shaquille O’Neal said after the Lakers’ 114-103 victory at Dallas on Dec. 4.
There was bad blood after the last meeting, as Malone elbowed Steve Nash in the head, drawing a one-game suspension. Nash had a cut lower lip that required two stitches.