Preview: Mavs welcome slumping Warriors to town; try to avoid season series sweep
Preview: Warriors (30-20) at Mavericks (21-28)
Mavs welcome slumping Warriors to town; try to avoid season series sweep
DALLAS — After two hard-fought games that turned into narrow losses, the Dallas Mavericks will try to finally figure out the Golden State Warriors Saturday night at the American Airlines Center while avoiding their first sweep in the season series since 2006-07.
Suffering a 105-101 home defeat in overtime at the hands of the Warriors (30-20) back on Nov. 19, the Mavericks (21-28) looked for revenge when they stepped into Oracle Arena last Thursday night. But instead the Mavs would again find themselves on the downside of a tightly-contested matchup, falling to a 100-97 loss while battling without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki for a second time due to a strained right adductor injury that kept him out of two games.
“I thought the boys really fought hard there in the fourth quarter, made a great run and just fell a little short,” Nowitzki said after watching the game from the locker room. “That’s the motto all season. Closing out games has been tough for us all year, with or without me.”
And with Nowitzki hoping to make up for lost time after missing both of the first two meetings, the Mavs will try to get even Saturday as they continue their five-game homestand heading into the All-Star break.
The 7-footer should also get plenty of assistance from leading scorer O.J. Mayo, who has tallied up 52 total points on 19-of-34 shooting, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range, in the two meetings against the Warriors this season. Fortunately for Mayo and the rest of the Mavericks, they catch the slumping Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back after falling to a third straight defeat following Friday’s 99-93 loss at Memphis. But in order to take advantage of the Warriors’ tired legs, the Mavs know they must first contain Golden State’s talented point guard Stephen Curry and big men duo David Lee and Andrew Bogut.
Curry lifted the Warriors on his back in the first outing with 31 points, nine assists and six rebounds, before being forced to sit out the second matchup between the two teams with a sprained right ankle. Still, after the sharpshooting young guard equaled a season-high 32 points to go along with eight assists, five boards and three steals in Golden State’s loss Friday, the Mavs know they’ll have their hands full while also trying to contain Lee and Bogut inside.
The Mavericks will attempt to cut down on their costly mistakes in the turnover department while keeping their advantage on the boards as well, after claiming a 47-46 rebounding edge but surrendering 22 points off their 15 turnovers last Thursday.
“They’re coming in here at the end of a trip, so we’re going to have to be fresh, we’re going to have to rebound and keep turnovers down. I think that’s the key to the game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “The turnovers were a big part of [the loss last week], and we had too many catastrophic turnovers that turned into easy ones for them. They’re a great rebounding team … and those are possessions of the ball. When you turn it over, you’re losing a possession of the ball, and often times you’re giving the other team a great chance to score a layup or an easy shot. So those two areas are really key.”
“You know, they’re a talented team and we’ve got to go get this one,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion added. “I think this is one that we really need and we’ve got to come out from the jump. And what more do I need to say, they’ve been playing very well and it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
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Note: The Mavericks return to action to continue their five-game homestand against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. The Warriors lead the season series 2-0 after wins by a combined seven points, including a 100-97 win in Oakland last Thursday night. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.