With just four games to go in the regular season, the Dallas Mavericks (47-31) are in the Mile High City to face the Denver Nuggets (29-49). The team arrived and practiced in the Mile High City a day early to get acclimated to the notorious thin air. With the regular season wrapping up, here’s what the Mavs are looking to do crossing the finish line.
Starting small forward Chandler Parsons will miss his 3rd straight game with swelling in his knee, an injury that happened sometime during the Oklahoma City game. He is expected to play sometime on this road trip, giving him a few games before the postseason begins. Other than Parsons, it appears the entire Mavs roster is healthy and ready to go for the stretch run. This will be key for the Mavs hope to have any kind of postseason success.
Rest vs. Momentum:
This is a much debated question when closing out a season and heading into the playoffs: Should we rest our guys or have them play and gather a few wins to go into the postseason hot? Given the inconsistency of the Mavs, they shouldn’t give but maybe Dirk Nowitzki an off night down the stretch. The Mavs need to feel good about themselves going into the playoffs, something they haven’t been able to do during the year for a long period due to their inconsistency. Rick Carlisle has also limited everyone’s minutes across the board the entire season, so fatigue shouldn’t be an issue for the postseason.
Dirk, Rondo, Tyson heating up:
Rajon Rondo might be coming into form at the right time of the year for the Mavs. In his last five games, he is averaging 10.2 points and 7.6 assists, to go along with only 8 turnovers (4.75 ast/to ratio). Along with Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki is also rounding into form. With the big German struggling to find consistency in much of 2015, he has been brilliant in his last five games, averaging 19 points on 49% shooting and 46% shooting from deep. Tyson Chandler is also playing very well of late, having posted a double-double in his last three of four games. This is the right time for three key Mavs components to be playing their best basketball of the season.
About the game:
The Mavs have lost 4 straight games in Denver, a notoriously tough place to play in the past. But now? The Nuggets are just 40-40 at home the past two seasons, down from a ridiculous 171-34 in their past 6. With what used to be a brutal place to play because of the thin air in Denver is now non existent.
Photo Credits: Dirk – Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Rajon Rondo – Brad Loper/AP Photo
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