Preview: Mavs slide into Cleveland in search of much-needed road W
Earl K. Sneed reports from Cleveland and previews the Dallas Mavericks' Saturday night showdown against the Cavaliers, as the Mavs try to end a four-game road losing streak.
Preview: Mavericks (5-5) at Cavaliers (2-6)
Mavs slide into Cleveland in search of much-needed road W
CLEVELAND — If the Dallas Mavericks are going to end their current four-game road losing streak then Saturday evening in Cleveland may be just the time to do so, facing a 2-6 Cavaliers team that has lost four in a row themselves after a six-game road trip.
Coming off of their worst loss of the season in a 103-83 thumping at Indiana, the Mavericks (5-5) will try to end their unsuccessful stretch away from home. In order to do so, however, the Mavs admit that they’ll need a more collective effort for 48 minutes against the lowly Cavaliers.
“This is frustrating right now,” forward Shawn Marion admitted after Friday night’s lopsided loss.
"We've got to get consistency out there and we've all got to take accountability for what we're doing on both ends of the floor," he added. "Right now, it seems like our trust is not where it should be and we're not helping each other the way we should be helping each other. We've gotta get back to doing that."
With Marion back in the lineup after missing five games with a sprained left MCL, the Mavericks believed they would have enough firepower to overmatch the Pacers in the first game of a back-to-back. But, after continuing a trend of second-half collapses, the new-look Dallas team was forced to go back to the drawing board to regroup while it continues to play without the services of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki following his arthroscopic right knee surgery on Oct. 19.
“I think now with Matrix [Marion] back it’s gonna help us a little bit, when he gets himself back where he’s in game shape and game speed and everything. But it’s gonna take a full collective effort to win these games, ’cause not one player can do it. We don’t have that guy. You know, Dirk’s out right now,” center Chris Kaman explained.
Still, even without their go-to scorer, the Mavericks rank fifth in the league in scoring (100.5), eighth in field-goal percentage (45.7) and fourth in 3-point percentage (40.0) heading into Saturday’s showdown against the 29th ranked scoring defense in the league, as the Cavaliers have allowed 104.8 points a night through eight games.
With that said, the Dallas defense will have to be locked in to stop reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving and big man Anderson Varejao.
The point guard and big man have carried the Cavaliers this season, with Irving’s 24.3 points per game good for fifth in the league in scoring – two spots ahead of Mavs guard O.J. Mayo’s 21.5 points an outing – and Varejao’s 13.7 boards a game making him the second leading rebounder amongst the 30 teams. The duo also comes into the matchup against the Mavericks after huge individual nights on Tuesday in a 114-101 loss to Brooklyn, with Varejao posting a career-high 35 points and 18 rebounds against the Nets and Irving adding a career-high 34 points and eight assists.
Still, after falling in convincing fashion in Indiana, the Mavericks are in need of a boost on the road. And the slumping Cleveland team could be just the opponent to see.
“There’s no point in soaking about the last game,” point guard Darren Collison said following the loss in Indiana. “We’ve got a tough one (Saturday) in Cleveland, so we’ve just gotta leave it in the past and try to get this win. You know, road wins don’t come easy, but we’ll be alright.”
Note: The Mavs head to Cleveland on the second night of a back-to-back, as they get set for a battle against the Cavaliers. The game will air locally at 6:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.