The Dallas Mavericks (15-10) welcome the Toronto Raptors (9-14) to the American Airlines Center (7:30 CT) to conclude the three game home stand (2-0). The Toronto Raptors come into the game winning 3 of 5 games since trading Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings for Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, and Patrick Patterson. The Raptors lost their last game s as Kemba Walker hit a game winning shot in Over-Time to give the Charlotte Bobcats the win.
The Mavericks will have their hands full down low with bigs Amir Johnson (11.7 ppg, 7 rbg) and Jonas Valanciunas (9.7 ppg, 7.8 rbg), who have seen their numbers increase since the trade. It is yet to be known if Samuel Dalembert’s performance of 8 points and 7 rebounds in just 13 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies will give him the nod at the starting center. It will be key for Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, and Brandan Wright to be able to rebound throughout the game. the Mavericks allowed 22 offensive rebounds to the Grizzlies last game.
Another Achilles Heal for the Mavericks has been stopping scoring guards. The Raptors will start the tough Kyle Lowry (14.4 ppg) and athletic DeMar DeRozan (21.8ppg). Monta Ellis and Calderon will have their hands full trying to keep these two from getting to the basket. If the Mavericks can limit the Raptors penetration it will drastically increase their chances of keeping the Raptor’s bigs off the boards and winning this game.
Star Dirk Nowitzki showed no signs of rust last game after missing a game due to illness as he finished with 20 points on 9-15 shooting. Calderon’s hot streak has also continued as he shot 5-7 and had 12 points against the Grizzlies.
The Mavericks have seen their defense improve as they’ve held five of the last seven opponents under 100 points. The Mavericks have offensive weapons, but if this defensive streak is a sign of consistent improvement and a game to game expectation then the Mavericks have a great chance of winning this game and moving up the standings.
The Mavericks enter the game on a two game win streak and 11-2 at home and 7-2 verse the Eastern Conference. A win will tie their second longest win streak of the season of three games, behind only the four game win streak they had from November 16-22.