The Dallas Mavericks are back home and ready to host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. Our Mavs return to Texas after a disappointing two-game road trip that included the first loss ever to the Charlotte Bobcats. After dropping two in a row, the Mavs look to avoid a third consecutive loss. They are undefeated at home at 3-0.
Perhaps the injuries to Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion weren’t missed until this past weekend. Both Dirk and Matrix will not play tonight, but there’s no room for excuses. The Timberwolves come into the game riddled by injuries too. Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio have yet to play this season, while the team will be without Chase Budinger, ex-Mav J.J. Barea and likely Brandon Roy as well.
Several factors have played into the Mavericks’ struggles en route to a pair of losses.
- Darren Collison had a rough weekend, more so just not playing his game. He was out there thinking too often than acting and reacting. No need to panic though, DC is a smart floor general that learns and improves from challenges.
- Careless turnovers will always hinder success. The Mavs didn’t protect the ball and committed 39 combined giveaways which provided the Knicks and Bobcats extra scoring opportunities.
- Mavs only shot a tidbit over 40% on the road trip and were outrebounded by the Bobcats 53-43 which ended up being crucial in the 101-97 overtime loss.
Even though the Wolves enter tonight’s game with the better record, you figure the Mavs should be considered the favorites. The AAC has been kind to the Mavs and they will need to get the crowd involved early and often.
Vince Carter played through a hip flexor injury on Saturday night and tallied 19 points (5-8 3PT), 5 boards and 3 steals. He’s been effective in the absence of key starters missing extended time.
O.J. Mayo continues to stroll alone as the NBA’s top 3-point shooter with 28 makes. Carter has made 16 triples himself and together they have paced the Mavs as the league’s top shooting team from deep.
Mayo has been the focus of opposing defenses as currently he’s the Mavs No. 1 offensive option, averaging 25.8 points in November. He’s gotten a bit sloppy with the ball at times (10 TO in NY/CHA), so he’ll have to make some adjustments.
The Mavs will see plenty of Russians Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved tonight. Without both Rubio and Barea, Shved and veteran Luke Ridnour will see all the minutes at point. Kirilenko joined the Wolves in the offseason after a strong performance in the Olympics. He’s their only healthy small forward, but Derrick Williams and Dante Cunningham could slide down and play reserve minutes behind AK47.
With numerous injuries on both sides, the lineups are sure to be unorthodox and at times undersized.
The Mavs need to come out with energy and get off to a fast start. After an underwhelming trip out east, what better way to get back into the winning column than a home game against the injury-plagued Minnesota Timberwolves? Get that DUB!! Let’s Go Mavs!
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