The Dallas Mavericks became the first NBA team to win in 2013. In the process they scratched off the six-game losing streak with a 103-94 win against the Washington Wizards. It was just the second win forDallasin the first games of back-to-back sets.
Tonight the Mavs are in south Florida to battle the Miami Heat. The Mavs will look to carry some momentum from the win into a tough test against one of the league’s elite. The Heat has stumbled recently, dropping two of their last three games. Still at 21-8 they are good for top seed in the Eastern Conference and the only team in the East without double digit losses.
In their previous meeting on December 20th, the Heat came intoDallas and handled the Mavs for a 110-95 victory. The Heat kept O.J. Mayo in check and controlled the game from start to finish. LeBron James led the way with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh added 19 and 17.
This time around the Mavs have their star Dirk Nowitzki back. Though he’s slowly getting his game legs back, he’s been making steady improvement from game to game. Against the Wizards Dirk scored 11 points in limited minutes; it was his first double figure scoring effort since his return.
Avoiding a slow start would do wonders for the Mavs. Now they did fall behind early against Washington last night, but the Heat will be much more difficult to fight back against.
Dallas also did a much better job prevented second chance points after the first quarter last night. After surrendering 17 in the first period, the Mavs held them to none in the second quarter and the tone was set on the way to the win.
We’re not sure when Nowitzki will join the starting five, but it too would bolster the Mavs morale. Once we see the full speed Dirk it should alter the Mavs dynamic. It will send Carter back to the bench where he can be instant offense as a reserve. Dirk then gets to begin games as the go-to guy and eventually work in the pick-and-roll/pop with either Mayo or Darren Collison.
Collison continued his strong play and now is averaging 18 points and 5.2 assists over his last five games and has scored in seven straight games he’s finished.
Mayo did something in the nation’s capital that he hadn’t done since early November. HE DIDN’T COMMIT A TURNOVER! It happens to be just the second game this season that occurred. Granted the ball had been in his hands often without Dirk around for most the year, but his giveaway numbers were atrocious. Currently he’s averaging only 3.8 dimes to his 3.1 turnovers, a poor ratio.
Let’s hold out hope this is a sign of things to come and Collison and Mayo can keep their turnover numbers down. It’s a proven trickle effect, protect the ball and good comes from it.
Game action tips tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT and airs locally on both FSSW and SUN.
Here we go Mavs!
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