Scouting Report: Wolves (33-32) at Mavericks (41-27) | March 19, 2014
Timberwolves at Mavericks | 7:30 PM — American Airlines Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
The Dallas Mavericks were on the way out, they said. Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are too old. Monta Ellis doesn’t know how to play team ball. Who is their center?
That was it sounded like when people were talking about the Mavericks back in October. Now? Well, Dallas is just in seventh place in the Western Conference with a 41-27 record. The Mavericks are 2 ½ games back from Portland for the fifth seed. Then again, they are only 1 ½ games ahead of the Phoenix Suns from not making the playoffs, so every game for Dallas is a must win. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Mavericks have a 90.5 percent chance at making the playoffs.
Speaking of must win, that’s pretty much were the Wolves will be until the end of the season. Despite having a 32-31 overall record, Minnesota finds itself 5 ½ games back from the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the West. With only 17 games left, time is ticking for the Wolves.
The Wolves are 2-1 against the Mavericks with the last game coming on Dec. 30 at the Target Center. The Mavericks came away with a 100-98 win behind 32 points from Shawn “The Matrix” Marion. Marion was 14-of-19 from the field and hit four 3-pointers. Nowitzki added 16 points, while Brandan Wright led the bench with 14 points. Dallas forced 17 Minnesota turnovers.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 36 points and 11 boards. Kevin Martin added 19, while Nikola Pekovic scored 18 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Former Maverick Corey Brewer scored points. Minnesota’s bench struggles, scoring just five points (all from J.J. Barea) compared to a mark of 26 from Dallas.
This Week’s Results
The Wolves are coming off of a 104-102 home win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. Martin led the way for Minnesota, putting up a game-high 31 points. He struggled from the field (8-of-20), but was cash from the free-throw line, making all 14 shots. Love added 26 points, 10 boards and five assists. Ricky Rubio and Brewer had 12 and 10 points, respectively. Perhaps the player of the game, though, was rookie Gorgui Dieng. In Dieng’s first career start, he scored 12 points, grabbed 11 boards and swatted five shots. Since 1991-92, Dieng is the fourth player to record 10 + points, 10 + rebounds and 4 + blocks in his first start.
March 19, 2014
Minnesota is 3-2 in its last five games.
The Mavericks are coming off of a 94-89 home win over the Boston Celtics on Monday. Mark Cuban’s squad had five players hit double-digits. Nowitzki led the way with 19 points. Ellis had 17 points and a somewhat surprising team-high seven rebounds. Devin Harris led the second unit, while Wright added 10. Marion finished with 11 points.
Dallas has been hot of late, going 4-1 in their last five games.
What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Dirk Nowitzki
If there’s one player that is compared with Nowitzki, it’s All-Star starter Kevin Love.
Both players are stretch power forwards. Nowitzki is a better midrange shooter, while Love is a better rebounder. Love probably has the upper hand on Nowitzki when it comes to skill set right now, but Nowitzki continues to reinvent himself, averaging 21.4 points per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field this season, his best mark since the 2010-11 season. Coincidentally, the Mavericks won the title that season.
In three games against Minnesota this season, Nowitzki is averaging 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.7 percent from the field.
Love is putting up numbers that have turned heads across the NBA this season. He’s averaging a career-high 26.4 points and 4.2 assists to go with 12.9 rebounds per game. His 46.2 field goal percentage is his best since 2010-11 and his 2.5 3-pointers per game are a career best.
In his three games against Dallas, Love is averaging 29.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field.
Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic (right ankle bursitis) is questionable. Point guard A.J. Price (appendectomy) and center Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise in right knee) are both out indefinitely.
Dallas rookie point guard Gal Mekel (right knee surgery) is out indefinitely.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Jose Calderon|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Monta Ellis|
|SF||Corey Brewer||Shawn Marion|
|PF||Kevin Love||Dirk Nowitzki|
|C||Gorgui Dieng||Samuel Dalembert|