Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Mavericks

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Wolves (21-38) vs Dallas (28-33) — 6:00 PM Target Center
Where to Watch: My29
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!

The Wolves return home after a road loss to Denver and will look to defeat a visiting Dallas team. Tip-off is set for 6 PM on My29 and 830 WCCO-AM.

Dallas Breakdown

With the seventh-best team scoring average and the fourth-best pace, this is a pretty productive offense despite the negative record. O.J. Mayo leads the charge, averaging 17.4 points per game and shooting a higher 3-point percentage (42) than ever before. Long-time Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is averaging his lowest scoring output since his rookie year, but he also missed time with an injury until December 2012.

If you thought Nowitzki might be past his prime at age 34, former electrifying dunker Vince Carter is providing a boost off the bench (13.0 PPG) at 36. Guard Darren Collison has the highest assist average (5.6 APG) and starts at point, while Chris Kaman anchors the paint. Shawn Marion usually starts, but a bruised calf will likely keep him out.

Last Time Out: January 14, 2013

Former Mavericks guard J.J. Barea scored 11 second-half points—a memorable outing in his first trip back to Dallas—but Minnesota ended up dropping their fourth straight game, 113-98.

Barea led the 2011 Mavericks back from a 2-1 series deficit in the NBA Finals against Miami, but his 21 total points were not enough. Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo each shot well from the field and scored 23 and 20 points, respectively. Bench forward Elton Brand also contributed 20.

"I felt like we were going to attack," said Collison, who also had nine assists and three steals.

In the midst of coach Rick Adelman’s personal absence from the team, Nikola Pekovic logged 20 points and 12 rebounds for the depleted Wolves.

Key Matchup: O.J. Mayo and Alexey Shved

They may not be on the floor at exactly the same time, but both Mayo and Shved are crucial to their team’s respective fortune.

Mayo, a free-agent pickup from last summer, is keeping the team afloat with his scoring. Usual top threat Dirk Nowitzki is having a down year, and Mayo is enjoying his most efficient year from beyond the arc. Now in his fifth season, some may forget that Mayo is only 25 and has plenty of good basketball ahead of him. Although things may have fizzled in Memphis, Mayo is a true scoring threat at shooting guard and will be a handful for Minnesota, especially when the undersized Luke Ridnour is assigned to guard him.

The scoring guard position for Minnesota is in turmoil. Ridnour is their best shooter, but he is just 6-foot-1 and is a liability when he has to guard someone with size like Kobe Bryant or O.J. Mayo. That leaves just Alexey Shved as Ridnour’s backup, and although he has the height (6-foot-6) to contest shots, he is having a rough stretch after the All-Star break. He has scored in double-digits only once in the last six games, and his averages are down across the board. He may be hitting his rookie wall, but the Wolves need him more than ever as he’s their only true healthy shooting guard.

Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law

The Wolves return home tonight and again are expected to be without center Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) and forward Andrei Kirilenko (left calf strain) along with the regulars who have been out extended time: Kevin Love (hand), Brandon Roy (knee), Chase Budinger (knee) and Malcolm Lee (knee). For the Mavs, forward Shawn Marion (calf) and guard Anthony Morrow (hip) are both questionable tonight against the Wolves.

 

Tonight's Probable Starters
Position Timberwolves Mavericks
PG Ricky Rubio Mike James
SG Luke Ridnour O.J. Mayo
SF Mickael Gelabale Jae Crowder
PF Derrick Williams Dirk Nowitzki
C Greg Stiemsma Chris Kaman

 


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.