Tonight, the Dallas Mavericks (7-4) look to go 6-0 at the friendly confines of American Airlines Center, and will get their second look at the Houston Rockets (7-4) in the process. The Rockets grabbed a large lead early in their first meeting and took down the Mavericks 113-105. The Mavericks made multiple runs to get back in the ball game, but fell short in the end. This figures to be a full out track meet as both teams can put up points, and give them up as well. The Rockets rank 2nd in the NBA in scoring at 108.8 points, but give up 104.5 points, which ranks 27th. The Mavericks, meanwhile, rank 5th in scoring at 105.7 points and 24th in points allowed at 102.7.
THE GAME AT HAND:
While the Mavericks were sloppy throughout, the duo of Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki proved to much for the rebuilding 76ers squad.
Tonight will be the first night Dwight Howard steps into the American Airlines Center since choosing the Rockets as his next team instead of the Mavericks. Mark Cuban has made multiple remarks saying that Howard made the wrong move, and that the Mavericks are happy they didn’t land him to begin with.
This will be the second of four meetings with Houston this season. This is another measuring stick to see just where the Mavericks stand and how far they can go this season.
THREE KEYS OF THE NIGHT:
1) START FAST: Last time in Houston, the Mavericks fell behind 38-22 after one quarter of play, and it was an uphill battle from then on. The Mavericks made some runs, but Nowitzki would foul out early in the 4th Quarter, which proved to be to much for the Mavericks to handle. Tonight, the Mavericks will need to take that home court advantage and use it to get off to a quick start.
2) PROTECT THE BALL: The Mavericks turned the ball over only 14 times in Houston earlier this month, but they were crucial turnovers, and they came in a time where the Mavericks were battling to get back in the game. The Mavericks turnover woes came back Monday against Philadelphia racking up 20 overall. Against a run and gun team like Houston, the Mavericks will have to take care of the ball and value every possession.
3) FIND THAT 3RD SCORER: Through the first 11 games, the Mavericks have been able to count on Nowitzki and Ellis to be their two main scorers. In a game like tonight where points will be needed to win, the Mavericks must be able to lean on a 3rd scorer. Vince Carter or Shawn Marion could end of being that guy, but regardless, someone needs to give the Mavericks that third scoring punch.
MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT
Monta Ellis vs James Harden: This figures to be a heck of battle between two veteran shooting guards. Ellis continues to prove his doubters wrong and has made himself comfortable in Rick Carlisle’s system. Harden, who will most likely have Marion guarding him for a majority of the game, is always a tough cover, whether that means him driving to the rim or shooting from outside. His ability to get to the charity stripe makes him tough to handle throughout the game.
Hopefully we have a better night here, and defensively Harden really sliced us up. He had a great game, and what makes him tough is his drives to the basket. But he was shooting threes from two feet behind the line, so he had a great game against us. We’ve got to make sure we contain him a little bit better.” – Dirk Nowitzki
“We’ve gone from 29th in the league the first week of the season. We’re up to 13th, and our catastrophic turnovers are keeping us from being in the top 10. Ball security has a lot to do with that, and we’ve got to help our offense work for our defense instead of the other way around.” – Rick Carlisle on turnovers
HOW TO WATCH:
The game can be seen on FSSW and nationally on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. CT
- Brandan Wright OUT
- Wayne Ellington Day-To-Day
- Devin Harris OUT
Sources – Game Preview by Earl K. Sneed (quote)
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