The Dallas Mavericks (47-31) take on the last place in the West Utah Jazz (24-53). The Mavs have won the last three while the Jazz are coming off a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors in which they gave up 130 points. With only four games left the Mavs must take care of business and come out with a victory. A victory against Utah will hopefully give them some confidence leading up to their three biggest games of the season.
The Game at Hand:
Coming off a California sweep beating the Clippers, Lakers, and Kings the Mavs play against another team with nothing to gain from a victory. Although the Jazz have no real star players they do have players that, when firing from all cylinders, can hurt you. Although it seems to be the story every night for the Mavs with Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward on the opposing team our guards will again have to step up and defend.
With the Spurs, Suns, and Grizzlies up next on the schedule it will be important for the Mavs to not overlook this game and do what they have on this current road trip, take care of business. The Jazz’s only real motivation is to play spoiler so it will be up to Dirk Nowitzki and company to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Certainly worth noting, a potential historic game could go down tonight. Nowitzki is 18 points shy of passing Oscar Robertson to crack the top 10 in career points scored. As most around the league will tell you, there is no one more deserving than the tall baller from the G.
Keys to the Game:
1. Defending the Jazz’s Point Guards: Stand out rookie Trey Burke will be a key tonight for the Mavs defense and our guards Calderon, Harris and Ellis. When he is able to penetrate the lane and distribute the basketball to an open Derrick Favors the Jazz are a completely different team. Even when he is on the bench 22 year old Alec Burks does much the same when he is given the space. Averaging 14 points per game this year, Burks is no slouch. Getting these point guards out of the paint and not a huge factor in the offense will almost certainly lead to a Mavericks easy victory.
2. Team Defense/Rebounding: Like a stated earlier, this team really doesn’t have just one star that can beat you by himself. It’s a combined effort(although it hasn’t worked this year). Marvin Williams has played big against(waiting to hear if he is playing or not) the Mavs and Gordon Hayward is always liable to have a great offensive game. Even down low Enes Kanter has shown flairs of offensive production and great rebounding. Overall, as long as the Mavs play a solid team game and don’t let any one person catapult this Jazz offense to a new level, the Mavs should be fine.
Matchup of the Night:
My matchup of the night belongs to Derrick Favors and the Mavs big men. Favors is averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds. If Dalembert and Wright can keep Favors off of the offensive glass and not give away extra possessions, I do not believe the Jazz have enough talent to handle the Mavs offensive fire power.
“I just think everyone’s locked in to what we’re trying to do,” Carter explained. “We’re trying to make that playoff spot and it means something. And a lot of these guys weren’t here last year for the disappointment of breaking the streak, but it feels like they were because it all means something. And everybody is coming together and ready to go.” Earl K. Sneed Mavs.com
When and Where:
The Utah Jazz host the Dallas Mavericks in Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Game time 8 PM CST on TXA 21.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (49-27) | Next 3 – PHO, NOP & SAC
6. Golden State (48-29) | Next 3 – DEN, @LAL & @POR
7. Dallas Mavericks (47-31) | Next 3 – @UTA, SAS & PHO
8. Phoenix Suns (46-31) | Next 3 –@NO, @SAS & @DAL
9. Memphis Grizzlies (45-32) | Next 3 – MIA, PHI, @LAL
Photo Source: George Frey/Getty Images North America)
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