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Will Peja be a player vs. L.A.?

DALLAS -- Is Peja Stojakovic giving the Dallas Mavericks what they need?

It's a more difficult question than it appears on the surface. Without Stojakovic's 21-point outburst off the bench in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers on a career playoff-tying high five 3-pointers, the Mavs might not have pulled away for the victory. In the other five games, he averaged 7.2 points on 8-of-21 shooting (38.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

Stojakovic is shooting just 41.7 percent overall, but 41.9 percent from 3-point range (13-of-31), which accounts for 64.6 percent of his shot attempts. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Stojakovic's presence on the floor -- he ranks fourth on the NBA's all-time 3-point list -- changes the appoach of defenses.

"He's like Reggie Miller and Dirk [Nowitzki]," Carlisle said. "He's got to be guarded everywhere he is on the floor; otherwise he's going to be a threat to score."

He just hasn't always scored, at least not like the Stojakovic of old. In April, which includes six regular-season games and six playoff games, Stojakovic has hit double figures three times and the Mavs are 3-0 in those games. But the Mavs don't need him to be among the leading scorers on a nightly basis. One hot game could steal a game.

The threat, in this case, is almost as valuable within the scheme as are points.

"Offensively he's a guy that helps our spacing with his ability to shoot," Carlisle said. "When we get penetration and he can line up 3s, that's a great situation for us. And, he's an experienced veteran. He understands how to play in our defensive system and he's done a solid job there."

The Los Angeles Lakers have only seen Stojakovic once this year, in the March 31 game in L.A. that the Mavs won in a rout. Stojakovic had 13 points in the game on 4-of-10 shooting and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.