The Dallas Mavericks fell to the San Antonio Spurs 97-76 Friday night. They dug themselves a huge hole early on, and cut it all the way down to a 58-54 deficit in the middle of the 3rd quarter. The Spurs would later go on a 12-2 run to put the game away for good. The blow would come later when Monta Ellis left the game with a calf injury. Ellis has shown time and time again that he will play despite whatever injuries are hampering him, but tonight will be a different story.
The Mavericks will take on the Indiana Pacers, who started playing much better basketball since the All-Star Break, but have now only won 3 out of their last 10 games. To top it off, Dallas will have to find a way to snag their 46th victory of the season without Monta in uniform. To make matters worse, the Mavericks will be without the services of J.J. Barea, who will be missing his 4th straight game with that left ankle sprain.
“Our goal is to get (Ellis) as healthy as possible. Our goal is to get Barea as healthy as possible. And when they’re healthy, we’ll have them back playing down the stretch of the regular season. But they’ve got to be healthy, and neither one of these guys are ready to go.” – Rick Carlisle
After the Mavericks won a huge statement game earlier in the week, they once again seemed to lack any sort of urgency early on in the game Friday night. This is a team that has shown they have an impeccable ability of being consistently inconsistent at times. When they want to play, they can play with any team in the league, but it’s the lack of urgency throughout certain stretches that is hampering this team, whether it be offensively, defensively, or both.
This will be a tough one tonight, as they already fell back in November to the Pacers, 111-100 in Dallas. The Pacers currently sit in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference, but are only a game out of that final 8th position.
Keys to the Game
The Mavericks will have to look to Devin Harris and Raymond Felton to help carry the load tonight in Indiana. Felton has been playing more due to Barea’s injury and has hit a couple of big time shots when the Mavericks were trying to crawl their way back into games. It could either be Harris or Richard Jefferson getting the starting nod tonight.
The Temporary Big 3
With Monta out for tonights game, RUN DMC will have to look for a replacement, so who better than their defensive anchor Tyson Chandler. If Nowitzki and Parsons can bring their A-game, and Tyson can provide that defense and presence at the rim, the Mavericks should get by unscathed tonight.
Monta Ellis – Out
JJ Barea – Out
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