The Mavericks hope to reel in their second win of this home stand against James Harden (game-time decision; thumb), D-12 and the Rockets.
The game at hand:
The Mavericks grinded out a 116-106 win over the Pistons on Sunday, ending a two-game losing skid. Dirk Nowitzki was phenomenal, having a game high in points (28) and rebounds (9) in a game in which he went up against the likes of Greg Monroe and Josh Smith.
Now the Mavs have a date with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night in Dallas. This is game 2 of 4 game home stand. The Mavs are looking to put together a string of consecutive wins for the first time in over two weeks. This Rockets team will be in its second night of a back-to-back, fresh off of taking down the Spurs last night. This will also be the fourth and last time the two will face off in the regular season, the Mavs are currently 2-1 vs their rivals, including a late November thriller in which Monta Ellis went for 37 points en route to a Dallas victory.
Keys to the game:
1. Continued bench production: Sunday’s game was a step in the right direction for the Mavs bench, particularly Devin Harris. After struggling in his first three games back from a toe injury that kept him out most the season, Harris has shown he’s not done yet , averaging 14 points and about five assists in his last two contests. Vince Carter has also (not so coincidentally) been thriving off of Harris’ improved play, averaging 16 points on over 50 percent shooting during that span as well.
2) Take care of the ball: For the fourth straight game, the Mavs had yet another contest in which they turned over the ball 15+ times. Simply, that won’t get it done. Monta Ellis had an eight turnover game on Sunday, collecting just three assists in the process. With Ellis getting a lot of ball handling duties, this is big area for improvement. If the main guards can cut back on TO’s, the rest of the team should follow suit.
Matchup of the Night: James Harden vs. Monta Ellis
In what is probably a matchup of the two most well rounded shooting guards in all of the Western Conference; all eyes will be set on this matchup. Although Monta Ellis has been struggling a little as of late, a strong performance here will certainly force his name back into the discussion of All-Stars for the remaining seven spots in the West. In the two games Harden has played against the Mavs, he’s averaged 29 points, six assists, and three rebounds while Ellis is averaging 25 points, five assists, and four rebounds in his 3 games against Houston this season.
Harden (thumb) sat out last night’s game against the Spurs. His status for this one is questionable. If the beard can’t go, expect more minutes and production from Jeremy Lin and Francisco Garcia.
“I’ve looked at it pretty close and he’ll make it, I just have a feeling that he will. And if he doesn’t, it’s great because he’ll have (time to) rest. But I do think, if you look at his stats and the production and minutes – if he was playing the minutes some of those guys are playing, he’d be a 25-point scorer. So he’ll make it. I think (Monta) Ellis deserves, too.” – Rick Carlisle on Dirk Nowitzki’s All-Star chances.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’m just building on each game, trying to get better, I try not to have too high expectations, having that much time off. I know what I feel I can do. It’s what my body will allow me to do. The last two games have been good for me.” – Devin Harris on his evaluation of his performance.
When and Where: The game will tip off at 7:30 CST and will air on Fox Sports Southwest
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