Mavs expect 'same, good Lakers' tonight

DALLAS -- A lot has changed in the world of the Los Angeles Lakers since the Dallas Mavericks surprised them with an opening-night victory that signaled the beginning of a rough start that forced an early season coaching change. Mike D'Antoni has arrived and is installing his offense and the Lakers hope to continue that progress with a win in Dallas.

The Mavericks, though, don't expect a huge difference in what they'll deal with on the court.

"We understand they have a new coach and are probably switching things up on the offensive end, but as far as I’m concerned they are the same, good Laker team," Mavs guard Darren Collison said. "Anytime you’ve got Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, that’s a pretty good lineup."

Carlisle said the system is different with D'Antoni at the helm, but notes that system isn't complicated.

"It’s just hard to guard because of the spacing, and he’s got good players," Carlisle said Friday. "It’s going to be challenging. Show me a simple play with great players and I’ll show you a play that’s hard to guard. But Mike does a great job and we’ve got to be ready and we’ve got to hit them with a lot of energy because they’re playing (Friday)."

As for how to contain Howard, Carlisle didn't really get into a discussion about any hack-a-Howard theories.

"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 it to give him any of the 'and-ones' because that way he’s got the two points and a chance for a third. He’s a tough guy. He’s the best center in basketball. So we’re going to have to do our job."