Preview: Familiar faces meet up as Mavs travel to L.A. for matchup vs. Clippers
Earl K. Sneed reports from Los Angeles and previews the Dallas Mavericks' nationally-televised matchup against Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers.
Preview: Mavericks (8-9) at Clippers (11-6)
Familiar faces meet up as Mavs travel to L.A. for matchup vs. Clippers
Despite a 1-for-8 season debut shooting night for veteran point guard Derek Fisher, the Mavericks (8-9) successfully ended a three-game losing streak before journeying back out on the road. And with six of their next seven games away from the American Airlines Center as they begin a three-game road trip, the Mavs hope to continue to build off their latest victory until the return of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki from his arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 19.
“We had two quality practice days, which we needed, and it’s an important stretch of games,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said as his team prepares to return to action in a nationally-televised matchup Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, who are on a three-game winning streak.
“A lot of this comes down to just simply everybody’s got to do their job,” he added. “I mean, that’s where we’re at. We don’t have a superstar out there right now, and so it’s just important that everybody knows what their job is and does it and we help each other.”
But even the coach admits that Wednesday night’s showdown against All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, ex-Maverick Caron Butler and the athletic Clippers (11-6) figures to be daunting. And with the Mavericks just 2-6 this season on the road, setting a positive tone to their current trip will take a collective effort.
“I don’t even know if you could simulate [the Clippers' athleticism] with a computer-generated thing,” Carlisle joked after prepping for his next opponent in Tuesday's practice. “I mean, these guys are as dynamic and athletic as they come, and so we’re going to have to approach it as a team game. I mean, that’s how we have to do things. We have to do things hard, we have to things together. … They’ve got a lot of good players, a lot of depth, so it’s a challenging game. But we’re just going to have to step on the court, be ready to do our jobs and help each other.”
Wednesday night will be the first time the Mavs have faced the Clippers since dealing away forward Lamar Odom this offseason in a four-team trade. It will also be the first time big man Chris Kaman will face his former team since being shipped to New Orleans in the deal that sent Paul to L.A., as he and fellow ex-Clipper Elton Brand return to the Staples Center.
Meanwhile, leading scorer O.J. Mayo prepares to face the same Clippers team that ended his Memphis squad’s playoff run last season with a Game 7 loss in the first round. And with the bitterness of the postseason series still lingering in his mouth, Mayo hopes to return the favor while seeking retribution, after scoring 24 of his game-high 27 points in the second half of the win over Detroit.
“It just makes you want to go that much harder, obviously,” Mayo admitted. “You know, you remember those games, those losses. You remember that Game 7. You remember Game 1 down 20. Obviously they’ve got a new team, but they’ve pretty much got the same core players with a few added pieces. So, I’m really excited to go in there and play.”
Note: The Mavs embark on a three-game road trip beginning in Los Angeles on Wednesday night against Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. CT.