Dallas Mavericks face new-look Lakers

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks will see a much different Los Angeles Lakers team tonight than the one they beat in LA on opening night.

For starters, the Lakers fired coach Mike Brown after they began the season 1-4 and replaced him with Mike D'Antoni.

Brown ran the much-maligned Princeton offense. D'Antoni likes to play at a faster pace.

"System-wise they're doing some different things," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Their personnel situation is a little bit different now because they have some guys that are dinged up.

"But they are still the Lakers and they've still got [Kobe] Bryant, [Pau] Gasol and [Dwight] Howard, [Ron] Artest. These guys are still big-time players; it's going to be challenging."

Tonight's tip-off at American Airlines Center is at 7:30 as the Mavs (7-6) try to keep their momentum going after Wednesday's 114-111 victory over the New York Knicks.

Guard O.J. Mayo hasn't had an opportunity to watch the new-look Lakers. However, he knows the personnel is basically the same.

"We understand they have a new coach and are probably switching things up on the offensive end," Mayo said.

"But as far as I'm concerned they are the same, good Laker team. Any time you've got Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, that's a pretty good lineup."

The Lakers will be without point guard Steve Nash, who has played just two games this season and is out indefinitely with a fractured left fibula.

Mayo watches 'Boys

O.J. Mayo and 15 of his family members spent Thanksgiving Day at the Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game in Arlington.

"It was nice, really nice," Mayo said of the massive stadium. "A lot of walking, though. They have a lot of bars. I was looking at the retired players; I didn't realize that Deion Sanders' jersey wasn't retired, so that was interesting."

Mayo and company sat in the Hall of Fame suites and watched Robert Griffin III and the Redskins defeat the Cowboys 38-31.

"RG3 did good," Mayo said. "My mom's an RG3 fan, so she was going crazy every time he did something good."

Mum on strategy

Because Dwight Howard struggles at the free-throw line, a lot of coaches have been telling their players to intentionally foul him and send him to the free-throw line.

That slows the Lakers' offense, affects their rhythm and gives opposing teams the edge. Rick Carlisle, however, wouldn't say if he'll employ that strategy tonight.

"If it comes down to a choice between having him dunk or watching him shoot free throws, we'd rather have anybody shoot free throws and earn it," Carlisle said. "But I'm not going to get into a big thing about it.

"He's such a powerful guy, if he gets above the rim he's going to dunk it. What you don't want is to give him any of the and-ones, because that way he's got the two points and a chance for a third.''

Howard is shooting a career-high 61.5 percent from the free-throw line this season.

Murphy questionable

Rick Carlisle said forward Troy Murphy may be a game-time decision tonight.

Murphy made his first start of the season in Wednesday's game against the Knicks, but left for good late in the second quarter with an upper respiratory illness.

"He's doing better," Carlisle said. "We held him out of a lot of the stuff we did [Friday] because he's a little weak."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

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