Mavericks welcome in Jazz as they hope to move up west standings, go into road trip with momentum.
The Game at Hand:
The Mavericks had a highlight win vs the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night on the road as they took down their division foe 110-96. The win was once again a team-oriented effort as the Mavs had 5 players score in double figures. Dirk Nowitzki led the team with 26 points on 10-14 shooting including a dagger three-pointer with 3 minutes left that put away Memphis for good. Samuel Dalembert followed up his solid performance over the Cavaliers on Monday (18 p, 8 r) with a 14 point, 10 rebound effort, his second double-double of the year. Brandan Wright and Vince Carter were also electric off the bench, combining for 30 points and playing key minutes in the fourth as the Mavs pulled away.
The Mavs now turn around and have a quick pit stop at home before they set out on a 3 game road trip before the All-Star break that will include stops in Boston and Indiana. The team will face the Western Conference worst Utah Jazz who are currently in a three game losing streak. The Jazz are led by their leading scorer in Gordon Hayward (16.7 PPG) and their stud rookie point guard Trey Burke (13 PPG-6 APG-3 RPG). They will most likely be without starter Derrick Favors as he is doubtful to play due to an injured hip and without reserve Jeremy Evans (bruised tailbone). This will be the second of four meeting between the two clubs, the first time the Mavs pulled out a 103-93 win over the Jazz at home as Monta Ellis had 26 points and Samuel Dalembert had his other double-double of the season with a 18 points, 12 rebound stat line. This can be a great opportunity for the Mavs to move up from the 8th seed in the loaded Western Conference as they wake up on Friday morning only a game out of the 6th seed in the conference.
Keys to the Game:
1. Get Monta rolling again: Monta Ellis has been solid over the past games, but that’s just it, solid. His level of play has slipped somewhat since the first 6 weeks of the season and the numbers are showing it as well. In his last 5 games (4 of which were at home), Ellis is averaging 14.6 points and 4.4 assists on 45% from the field and is 33% from 3. The Mavs have been able to win 4 of those 5 (mostly due to Dirk Nowitzki’s red hot shooting of late) but the Mavs will need their second best player to regain his form if they hope to keep their winning momentum intact.
2. Jump on them early, put them away fast: The Jazz might be the worst team in the West, but they are all still in the NBA for a reason, that said, the Mavs shouldn’t take them lightly and they should look to throw the first blow and jump on them early. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Jazz have the worst winning percentage when they trail at any point in a game by 10 points or more, coming back and only winning 2 games in that fashion this season. The Mavs will need starters Shawn Marion and Jose Calderon to help Dirk and Monta in getting the offense started early.
Matchup of the Night:
Jose Calderon vs Trey Burke
This matchup will be very unique, yet very important. The first time the Mavs and Jazz faced off, Try Burke was just in his second game in his NBA career, coming off a broken foot, so Burke played a small reserve role as he was trying to find a groove, he only played against Jose for 2 minutes. This meeting however is very different. With kudos to the Hayward-Marion matchup that will be taking place on the wing, this matchup features a rookie of the year candidate in Burke that is lightning quick and a savvy veteran shooter in Mr. Calderon. Calderon won’t have to put up great offensive numbers however; he simply needs to play good defense on Burke. Burke is in a slump of his own as of late, averaging just 7.6 points and 5.2 points in his last two games. Limiting Burke’s open lanes and contesting his jump shots should be enough to shake Burke’s confidence early.
“You can give him the ball, I feel he’s going to make every shot, that’s how I feel right now, He’s playing great, he’s doing a lot of things for us, the defense has got to be on him all the time and that’s why we’ve been able to get shots as well.” – Jose Calderon on Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting groove right now
“We’re a team looking to move up; we’re looking to move up in the standings. We’re not looking to just hang on to the eighth spot. Who wants to be in the eighth spot if you’ve got a chance to move up to seventh, sixth, fifth or fourth? That’s what our mindset’s got to be.” – Rick Carlisle on the Mavs looking to move up in the Western Conference standings
When and Where:
The game will tip off at 7:30 CST and will air on Fox Sports Southwest
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