DENVER, CO – It’s Game Day Mavs Fanatics! The Dallas Mavericks (27-12) take on the Denver Nuggets (17-20) at 8:00 PM CST at the Pepsi Center in Denver (TV: Fox Sports Southwest). The fifth seeded Mavs are playing on the second night of a back-to-back after defeating the Kings in Sacramento last night in overtime (108-104) behind 28 points from Monta “Have It All” Ellis. The Nuggets come into tonight’s contest with plenty of rest, having played their last game on Friday night, and are currently riding a four-game win streak.
PG: Rajon Rondo (9.6 ppg, 9.8 apg, 6.8 rpg)
SG: Monta Ellis (20.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 2.5 rpg)
SF: Chandler Parsons (15.4 ppg, 2.3 apg, 5.0 rpg)
PF: Dirk Nowitzki (18.5 ppg, 2.1 apg, 5.8 rpg)
C: Tyson Chandler (10.8 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg)
PG: Ty Lawson (16.7 ppg, 10.0 apg, 3.3 rpg)
SG: Arron Afflalo (15.5 ppg, 1.8 apg, 3.5 rpg)
SF: Darrell Arthur (7.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.3 bpg)
PF: Kenneth Faried (11.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 0.6 bpg)
C: Jusuf Nurkic (6.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg)
What to Watch For
Last night, Run DMC (Dirk, Monta and Chandler) played a total of 115 minutes between the three of them after grinding out last night’s win in overtime. It’s a quick turnaround for the Mavs, who arrived in Denver early this morning with little rest, if any at all. Tonight’s outcome will rely heavily on the type of production that the Mavs get from their bench. Expect a heavy dose of Charlie V and Al-Farouq Aminu.
The Nuggets are coming into tonight’s game playing some of their best basketball of the season, led by Ty Lawson and Arron Affolo. They have both quietly been on a tear during past the five games with Lawson averaging 19.6 points and Affolo averaging 24.0 points. The Nuggets are highly efficient on offense – good enough for ninth in the league (102.3 points) – and are tenacious on the boards at 45.9 per game (fourth in the NBA). If the Mavs don’t come out with high energy to start this game, they’ll find themselves down early; and making a comeback on the second night of a back-to-back won’t be easy.
Match Up of the Night
After being asked to shoulder the load defensively against Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins for 44 minutes in last night’s win, Tyson Chandler has yet another big challenge tonight against Denver’s rookie sensation, Jusuf Nurkic (6.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks). The 6-11, 290 pound Nurkic (known as the “Bosnian Beast”) is having a surprisingly productive rookie season, after being selected 16th in 2014 NBA Draft.
Nurkic’s production of late has helped fill the void created by Timofey Mozgov’s departure from the Nuggets, having averaged 12.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks during the Nuggets four-game win streak. With little rest, 32-year-old Chandler will have his hands full against the young, spry 20-year-old Nurkic, who has been playing lights-out basketball. Unless Jermaine O’Neal flies to Denver from Germany, look for Greg Smith to step up and provide defensive support to Chandler.
“Everything is just going great, man. I’m helping my teammates and club win. That’s a great feeling.” – Jusuf Nurkic
Kevin Garnett to the Mavs?
It’s unlikely that Kevin Garnett will find himself on the Mavs’ roster via a trade; but it could be a possibility, should the 19-year veteran get bought out of his contract with the Brookyln Nets. While no substantiated rumors have been circulated, the first domino that would have to fall would be for PG Deron Williams and/or SG Joe Johonson to get traded – which seems like a highly plausible scenario. At that point, the Nets would be in full tear-down mode and the 38-year-old KG, who is in the last year of his $12 million contract, would become expendable and it’s unlikely a team will trade for his contract. Enter the Dallas Mavericks. Really and truly, the Mavs want KG for one reason and one reason only — to see him do more of this:
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Photo Credit: Mavs.com; Nuggets.com
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