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Lakers Host Mavericks In Battle Of Playoff Positioning On TNT

The Los Angeles Lakers look for their eighth straight win tonight, facing the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center in a nationally televised game on TNT. Tonight's game will go a long way in determining the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, with the Lakers currently holding a one-game lead in the loss column. The Lakers, who have already clinched the Pacific Division, hold the tiebreaker over Dallas by virtue of being a division winner.

Western Conference Playoff Seeding
Team Record GB Gms Left
San Antonio 53-12 --- 17
Dallas 47-18 6 17
Lakers 46-20 16
Oklahoma City   41-23 11½ 18

If somehow Dallas passes San Antonio for the Southwest Division crown, the next tiebreaker between the Mavericks and Lakers would be head-to-head record. That makes tonight's game important, as the two teams have split two games so far this season. The Lakers are 17-4 all-time against Dallas at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant on Sunday became the all-time Lakers leader in games played, with 1,094 games, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Lakers are 15-1 since the All-Star break, and are just the fifth team since 1951 to start 15-1 or better after the All-Star break. The Mavericks are playing on the second night of back-to-back nights, as they beat the Clippers on Wednesday night.

For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.