Preview: Nets head to Dallas aiming to end recent woes against Mavericks
Spencer Dinwiddie vs. Dennis Smith Jr. promises to be an exciting battle between two of the NBA’s emerging young point guards.
The Nets (7-13) hope to finish their Texas two-step on a positive note when they travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks (5-16).
Brooklyn hasn’t beaten Dallas in over two years, but will be boosted by the likely return of DeMarre Carroll, who wasn’t listed on the team’s injury report released on Tuesday.
This game presents a unique opportunity for the Nets to finish with two wins out of their three-game road trip and also get their fourth away victory of the season. Last season, the team didn’t get its fourth road win until March.
Here's the Key Things to Look Out for in Tonight's Clash
Top Question: Can Brooklyn Take Advantage of Dallas’ Scoring Woes?
The Mavericks have struggled to find scoring consistency and currently are one of the worst four teams in the NBA offensively, averaging 99.2 points a game. Still, Rick Carlisle is one of the best defensive coaches in the NBA and despite the Mavericks’ struggles this season, his team sits just outside of the top 10 in points allowed – ranking 11th at 104.5 ppg. Dallas has actually picked up two of its five wins on the season in its last three games and that can be credited to the team’s defense stepping up (96.7 ppg allowed in that span, good for third in the league).
In order to get a win, Brooklyn will need to stick to its approach of keeping the game pace up. The team currently sits third in the league in pace of play (105.49) and is fourth in scoring (110.2 ppg). If the game becomes a grind it out, low-scoring affair, the Nets should look to their win in Memphis as a blueprint to get a result.
Key Matchup: Spencer Dinwiddie vs. Dennis Smith
It’s a battle between two of the most exciting young point guards in the NBA.
Smith is one of the early top contenders for the Rookie of the Year award and is currently second on the Mavericks in scoring (14.8 points) and assists (4.4 per game). The former NC State star has incredible athleticism, which has led to NBA fans clamoring for an appearance in the 2018 dunk contest.
Dinwiddie is one of the NBA’s top 20 players in Real Plus-Minus stats and is second only to Chris Paul in the league’s assist-to-turnover ratio, according to ESPN.
Abschied [Farewell] Dirk?
This might be the first of two final games against NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki as he’s clearly reaching the end of future first-ballot Hall of Fame career. While the German hasn’t publicly addressed his future this season, there was some speculation he was considering retirement last season.
Nowitzki has had some memorable games against the Nets and has averaged 21.5 points, 7.9 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc in 36 games against the team.
Injuries: Allen Crabbe (sore lower back) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (sprained right ankle) are doubtful. D’Angelo Russell (left knee surgery).
Potential Starting Five: Dinwiddie, Harris, Carroll, Booker, Zeller