Preview: Mavs try to tie season-best win streak vs. slumping T-Wolves
Preview: Timberwolves (16-18) at Mavericks (15-23)
Mavs try to tie season-best win streak vs. slumping T-Wolves
Meanwhile, the Mavericks (15-23) hope to take advantage of their second straight opponent on the second night of a back-to-back, trying to tie a season-best three-game winning streak with a second victory to begin their four-game homestand.
After falling 10 games below .500 for the first time since March 30, 2000 following a hard-fought 99-93 loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers, the Mavs have since rallied with back-to-back wins for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Dec. 6-10. Coming back from 17 down to eventually conclude their three-game road trip with Thursday night’s 117-112 overtime win in Sacramento, the Mavs built off that momentum by downing the Memphis Grizzlies back at home Saturday with a 104-83 rout.
And after catching the Grizzlies on the second night of a back-to-back following an overtime win over San Antonio, the Mavs will try to repeat that formula when the Timberwolves (16-18) head into the American Airlines Center just 24 hours after suffering a 106-88 defeat in San Antonio to fall to 0-3 on their current four-game road trip.
“For where we are right now, gutting out the game in Sacramento was really important for us. Being able to come home and start off this homestand the right way is really important for us. We take nothing for granted,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “This whole season has been work. It’s been challenging and it’s going to continue to be that, but we’re showing some signs of coming together in some different ways and we’ve just got to continue.”
“[Saturday’s win] was definitely a good one to get and build on the momentum we got in Sacramento with a win we had to fight all the way down to the last second,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added. “And hopefully we can build on that. I said we played more to lose than to win in Sac, and hopefully that win gave us some confidence and we can build on it. … Obviously Memphis had a tough one (the night before). They had an emotional win over a great team. They looked a step slow and I thought we really from the beginning set a good tone and gave them nothing easy. I thought we really fought them on the block and tried to make everything hard, so it was a good game for us but they were a little bit tired. And now we move on.”
Falling at home to a 90-82 defeat on Nov. 12 before traveling to the Target Center and slipping to a 114-106 overtime loss at the hands of the Timberwolves on Dec. 15, the Mavericks put up two good fights despite playing without the services of Nowitzki in both outings. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves were without All-Star big man Kevin Love for the first two meetings, as they will be Monday after it was announced that the budding star will miss eight to 10 weeks due to a twice-broken right hand.
The Wolves are also expected to be without coach Rick Adelman for a fifth consecutive game as he tends to his ailing wife, who is hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. But Minnesota still possess point guard Ricky Rubio, who made his season debut in the second matchup between the two squads and returned to see his first action since tearing ligaments in his left knee in March, scoring eight points, dishing out nine assists and grabbing four rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
“He gave them a little lift,” forward Shawn Marion said of Rubio. “He gave them some fancy passes and he’s a very interesting player. His first game back, you know, he was gonna be a little rusty. But he can pass that ball.”
Fortunately for the Mavs’ sake, Rubio is just 1-of-12 from the field in the last three games for the Wolves since missing four in a row due to back spasms. And with the second-year point guard struggling, the Mavericks will try to treat their fans to another show after leading by a season-best 34 points in the win over Memphis before holding on for a fourth 20-plus point win.
Note: The Mavericks return to action at the American Airlines Center for the second outing of a four-game homestand Monday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves lead the season series 2-0 after two games at home. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.