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Game Night: Mavericks Set To Battle Rockets In Pivotal Matchup




Well, here we are. The Dallas Mavericks (39-38) managed to take care of business over the last week, taking four straight against opponents they not only should have beaten, but teams they needed to beat to prepare for the final stretch. That stretch starts tonight in Houston, as the Mavericks will take on the Rockets in a pivotal matchup with playoff implications on the line.


5. Memphis4236
6. Portland 4237.5
7. Dallas39382.5
8. Utah39393
9. Houston38393.5


I wouldn’t say there is necessarily bad blood between these two teams, but tonight could bring back memories of last seasons first-round playoff series, which Houston won in 5 games.


There are only a few more games left for each team this season, so a win by the Mavericks tonight could increase their cushion to two games over the Rockets with only a hand full of games remaining. While most may think this is a must win for the Rockets, it’s just as crucial for Dallas. If the Rockets take tonight’s game, they will not only pull into a tie with the Mavericks in the standings, but they would also win the head-to-head series, thus earning them the tie-breaker if they end the season tied. A win by Dallas would not only increase their lead in the standings, but it would also take away the head-to-head series tie-breaker scenario in the process.


The Mavericks also have a crucial stretch coming up – Memphis, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah & San Antonio. Houston, however takes on plenty of bottom feeders like Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota (Ahem, Golden State) & Sacramento.


“It’s a minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour thing,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “You’re in the fight and every possession going whistle to whistle could be the one that turns it one way or another.”


The Mavericks, usually known for their offensive ability, have managed to look to a different weapon during this 4-game winning streak. They have held opponents to 86 points per game, and have forced over 17 turnovers per game during that strech as well. While all that is great, they will need to shoot the ball much better tonight when they take on James Harden and company. Harden hasn’t had that much individual success against the Mavericks, but has been playing great ball as of late.


Wesley Matthews and Justin Anderson are the likely candidates for grabbing the defensive task on Harden throughout tonight’s game. It will be important to limit the Rockets outside shooting, as they currently are behind only the Golden State Warriors in 3-pointers attempted at over 30 per contest.


Fun Fact: J.J. Barea, Your Western Conference Player of the Week


J.J. Barea #5 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on April 3 2016 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


On Monday, the NBA announced that J.J. Barea was the Western Conference Player of the Week. Barea averaged 23.5 points and 6.8 assists for the Mavericks in all four starts last week. He has managed to fill in for the injury to Deron Williams, and has given new life to the Mavericks playoff hopes.


Ryan Wilson founded Mavs Fanatic (Now Dallas Sports Fanatic) in January of 2012. He had a vision of starting something new and different. A place where fans of the Dallas Mavericks and fans of writing could come and be heard. A blog "Run By Fans For Fans". He is also a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago WhiteSox (His hometown team). Mavs Fanatic is now known as Dallas Sports Fanatic, a blog that covers all of the major Dallas pro sports teams.    

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