After a slow start to the season for the Mavs, their recent play has been encouraging as they’ve won four of their last seven games. Even in those three losses, the Mavs have been competitive and had chances to win those games.
Tonight, a depleted Nuggets team comes to town as arguably their two best players, Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap are out with injuries. Though battling through injuries, the Nuggets have continued trucking on as they’ve won four of their six games since Millsap injured his wrist.
With the absence of Jokic and Millsap, the Mavs will likely see Mason Plumlee and Kenneth Faried in the starting lineup. The Mavs big men must stay on their toes and be ready for a battle as Plumlee and Faried are very energetic and a problem on the boards.
Like Dallas, the Nuggets have plenty of back court depth which they use to their advantage. Will Barton, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray all average above 14 points per game this season. Barton has stepped up since Millsap and Jokic went down, averaging 19.3 points per game over the last two weeks, including a career-high 37 points against the Bulls last Thursday.
To counteract Denver’s guard depth, the Mavs must win the guard battle as Dennis Smith Jr, Wes Matthews, JJ Barea, and company have to collectively be productive against the Nuggets guard rotations.
For the Mavs to win tonight, we’ll need Harrison Barnes to lead the way. After shooting just 39% from the field over the last two weeks, Barnes should be able to attack the basket and get easier shots with the Nuggets without Jokic and Millsap while Wilson Chandler is a game-time decision for tonight’s game.
Though it’s not the Dirk of old but the old Dirk, That Dude has been shooting very well recently. Shooting 57% over the last two weeks, expect Dirk to continue to get shots up consistently while stretching the floor for Dallas.
Tip-off is at 7:30 at the AAC. For those going to the game, get there early for your chance at receiving the rookie Dirk bobblehead! Go Mavs!
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