The Dallas Mavericks (36-25) fly up to the Mile-High City to take on the Denver Nuggets (25-34).
The Game At Hand:
Dallas, trying to prevent a possible three-game losing streak, has won four of their last six games. It’s been a tough streak the last few days, including a heartbreak loss to the division rival San Antonio Spurs. A win tonight is crucial with the Pheonix Suns breathing down the Mavs’ neck for the 7th seed spot in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets are surprisingly one of the bottom feeders in the Western Conference this season. Their questionable off-season moves, like firing George Karl, is one reason for their atrocious performances on the court. Denver is currently on a six-game losing streak, losing 11 of their last 12 games. Not to mention, the Nuggets are plagued with injuries this year. This team has a huge hole in their roster with Danilo Gallinari, Javale McGee, and Nate Robinson placed with season-ending injuries.
Keys To The Game:
1. Rebound – Rebounding has been one of the many struggles for the Dallas Mavericks this year. Referring to the defeat versus the Spurs on Sunday night, the Mavs gave some key offensive rebounds down the stretch of the fourth quarter. The key is for the big men to crash and box out guys like Nuggets’ center JJ Hickson on defense. Hickson ranked 10th in the league in total offensive rebounds and averages 9.8 rebounds per game.
2. Capitalize on Free Throws – For a Dallas Mavs team that averages shooting 80% from the free throw line, the last two games have been gruesome to watch seeing these guys miss free throws. Dallas shot 64% (9 for 14) and 70% (12 for 17) against the Spurs and Bulls respectively. It’s important to shoot above 82% from the charity stripe to win tonight.
Vince Carter maybe be 37 years old, but he has been playing similar to the days where he was known as “Half-Man, Half-Amazing”. No, Carter isn’t doing windmill dunks in transition, but he has turned heads with his efficient scoring during the last few games. In the last 10 games, Carter has averaged 14.9 points a game and shooting 47% from behind the arc. It may not the usual 25+ points that he averaged with the Raptors and Nets, but his contribution off the bench for the Mavs has caught some attention. Expect a good game from Carter tonight.
When and Where:
Tip-off starts tonight in the Pepsi Center at 7 pm CST and will be televised on ESPN.
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports
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