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Mavs Aim To Snap Losing Skid Against Defending Champs

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Mavs have endured a rough start to their season, but things won’t get any easier tonight when Dallas (2-12) faces the defending NBA champions in Cleveland (11-2).

 

On the brink of facing one of the NBA’s highest-scoring offenses, Dallas will have to pass a tough road test in order to snap its current seven-game losing streak.

 

Stats

 

Dallas Mavericks

 

PPG: 91.6 (30th)

RPG: 40.5 (30th)

APG: 17.3 (30th)

 

Cleveland Cavs:

 

PPG: 110.8 (3rd)

RPG: 45.9 (4th)

APG: 23.1 (8th)

 

Match Up History (69 games):

 

Cleveland – 37 wins

Dallas – 32 wins

 

March 16, 2016: Cavs 99, Mavs 98

Jan. 12, 2016: Cavs 110, Mavs 107 (OT)

March 10, 2015: Cavs 127, Mavs 94

Jan. 4, 2015: Mavs 109, Cavs 90

 

Key Match Ups

 

Wes Matthews vs. J.R. Smith

 

It’s no secret that both of these guys can get trigger-happy from long distance. Tonight’s matchup is an interesting follow to see which side is able to take advantage of their defensive counterpart. Can Wes Matthews rattle off five or six baskets from three and push the offensive agenda for Dallas? Or will J.R. Smith follow Kevin Love’s 34-point first quarter effort against Portland with a highlight-laden night of his own?

 

Dirk Nowitzki vs. Kevin Love

 

Nowitzki is expected to start in his second game back from a sore Achilles. With Kevin Love matching up on the opposite end rather than athletic forwards such as Blake Griffin, Nowitzki should have an opportunity to find more consistency in his offensive repertoire despite shooting 3-for-10 in his previous outing against the Clippers. While Love may appear to be a very inviting defensive matchup, only one of these two scored 40 points in their last outing. Nowitzki will be tasked with keeping Love off the boards and away from the three-point line, which Love found eight times against Portland.

 

Harrison Barnes vs. LeBron James

 

Barnes against James is the max-money matchup of the night. The matchup against Cleveland presents an opportunity for Dallas to gauge where Harrison Barnes stands at the small forward against the best player at the position and arguably in the league. Barnes has already notched several career-highs in his short time with Dallas. But an impressive showing against James could help re-affirm the front office decision of bringing Barnes to Dallas.

 

Injuries

 

Jose Juan Barea (left calf strain) is out; Devin Harris (right great toe sprain) is out.

 

Game Info

 

Time: 6:30 p.m. (CST)

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: 103.3 FM (ESPN)

Podcast host and credentialed media member covering Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Wings | Roamed the rapidly growing area of Arlington Texas for the last 25 years. I graduated Texas Tech in 2014 with my Bachelor's degree in Media and Communications and currently obsess over basketball full-time. In my free time, I'm a substitute teacher and also an Uber driver. I've been following the Mavs since Jason, Jimmy and Jamal were young up-and-comers. If you need their last names, please don't ask me.

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