Wolves vs. Mavericks Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Mavericks 7 PM - Target Center

Scouting Report:
Big Picture:
Kurt Rambis


Al Jefferson

Caron Butler


Jason Kidd

There is no need for a drum roll; the Mavericks are the early winners of the trade deadline sweepstakes. Dallas has reeled off 11 straight victories, receiving an added spark from new acquisitions, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. With quality wins over Phoenix, Orlando, the Lakers, Atlanta, and Chicago, the Mavericks are the hottest team in the league. Snagging the top Western Conference spot does not seem too far out of reach considering the latest three-game losing streak from the Lakers. After facing Minnesota on the road, Dallas returns home for five contests that could change the order of the playoff seeds as teams jockey for position during the final month of the season.

Last Meeting:
Just five days ago, the two teams met in Big D with the Mavericks holding off the Wolves 112-109 to take a 2-1 series lead this year.

In the last meeting, Corey Brewer and Jason Terry collided with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Brewer accidently elbowed Terry's nose, which resulted in facial surgery for the potential sixth man of the year and will keep him out of the lineup for the next 10-14 days. Terry was effective prior to the injury, scoring 26 points off the bench while Rodrique Beaubois and Jose Juan Barea filled in nicely for Jason Kidd. Head coach Rick Carlisle decided to rest the 15-year veteran in preparation for an intense final stretch of games. On Saturday night, Kidd posted a double-double in assists and rebounds in the Mavericks victory over Chicago. For the Wolves, Jonny Flynn scored 19 points facing the back-up Dallas point guards this past Wednesday and Brewer led the team with 24 points. Brewer aggressively attacked the rim throughout the last contest against the Mavericks, reaching the charity stripe 12 times.

Dallas formed a smaller frontcourt lineup in Chicago to counter the loss of Haywood due to back tightness. Carlisle placed superstar Dirk Nowitzki at the center spot and surrounded him with Butler and Shawn Marion. The three talented players combined for 69 points en route to defeating the Bulls without their seven-footer in the paint. Regardless of Haywood's health status, Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis will assign Ryan Hollins to defend Nowitzki. Hollins offers length and athleticism that may frustrate Nowitzki; he was held to 22 points in the last matchup against Minnesota. As a former member of the Mavericks, Hollins seems to elevate his physical style of play while facing one of the best scorers in the league. The Minnesota big man has been extremely efficient in his past two games, shooting a combined 13-for-14 and recording 29 points. Expect Darko Milicic to head back to the pine as Al Jefferson returns from the two-game suspension tonight. Kevin Love continues to produce off the bench and has tallied a double-double in seven of his last ten games, including a 20-10 performance on Saturday night against Houston.

What To Look For:
Jefferson will provide a much-needed scoring option on the blocks for Minnesota tonight. He should have no issues with rust after practicing with the team last week and focusing on conditioning during his time away from game action. Following the loss to Dallas on Wednesday, Flynn said the Mavericks are a good matchup for his Wolves squad. He also made sure to shed a light on the turnover issues that has plagued Minnesota during the recent five-game losing streak. In Dallas on Wednesday, the Wolves committed 22 turnovers, resulting in 29 Mavericks points. If Minnesota can limit the mistakes, the numbers are even with Dallas as both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor in the last meeting.
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