FEB. 18- Miami Heat AT Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Connection: Only one Maverick has ties with the Heat and that’s the Matrix, Shawn Marion. Matrix played for Miami from February 2008 to February 2009. Marion was traded to Miami from Phoenix during the 2007-08 season, then from Miami to Toronto during the 2008-09 season. Matrix started in 56 of 58 games, averaging 12.7 points. The only Dallas connection the Heat have is in Dallas-native Chris Bosh, other than the fact that these two played for it all in 2006 and 2011. The two also have a connection in venue, the Mavs playing at American Airlines Center (AAC) while the Heat play at American Airlines Arena (AAA).
College Life: While Brandan Wright and Wayne Ellington played together from 2006-07 at North Carolina, and Toney Douglas (MIA) left one year prior to Bernard James’ arrival at Florida State, Vince Carter and Shane Battier did play against each other in college. (Carter at UNC, Battier at Duke).
Records Are Meant To Be Broken: The Heat hold the best record in the East, and second-most wins in the league when it comes to facing teams .500 and above. Miami is 13-4, and plays much better when blowing teams out. The Heat are 7-2 in games decided by three points or less, and 17-5 in games 10 points or more. Dallas plays better against under-.500 teams, but have won its last two against above-.500 teams (10-13). Also like the Heat, the Mavs have a better record in games decided by 10 points or more at 15-8 (7-7 in three points or less).
Miami has won two of its last three and is 15-4 vs the West this season. The Heat are 3-0 against the Southwest division, including a 110-104 win over the Mavs on Nov. 15. The Mavs are 15-7 against the East, winning their last three at home, and four of their last five overall. Dallas is only 6-3 vs the Southeast with wins over the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards (twice), and Orlando Magic (twice).
Home Versus The Road: Dallas has won its last three at AAC, averaging 111 points in that span, four of its last five, and is 18-8 overall at home this season. Miami is 17-10 on the road, winning four of its last five, averaging 105 points in that span.
FEB. 21- Dallas Mavericks AT Philadelphia 76ers at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Age Is Just A Number: The average age on the Mavericks’ roster is 28.3 while the Sixers stand at 23.7. Philly has one player older than 25, yes 25, in 33-year-old Jason Richardson, who hasn’t played since Jan. 18. Dallas has six 30 and over, and three 35 and over (Dirk, Carter, Marion).
I Made A Career At This: Samuel Dalembert, in his first season with Dallas and 12th overall, was selected 26th overall in the 2001 NBA draft by…the Philadelphia 76ers. Dalembert spent eight years in Philly before being traded to the Sacramento Kings for Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes in June 2010. In those years, Dalembert established himself as one of the better shot blockers in the league.
He averaged 2.04 blocks a game his last seven years with Philly. Dalembert cracked the top-20 in blocks per game all seven years, and the top-10 five times, including fourth during the 2007-08 season. He holds the sixth and eighth spots for most blocks in a season in franchise history, and has the best defensive and total rebound percentage in a season back in 2009-10. Dalembert also has the sixth-best career mark in franchise history in field-goal percentage, and ranks eighth in career rebounds, and only trails Dr. J in career blocks (they’re the only two over 1,000).
FEB. 22- Dallas Mavericks AT Detroit Pistons at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Our Time Together Was Brief: Also in his first season with the Mavs, Jose Calderon is known for his playing days with the Toronto Raptors, but also had a short stint in Detroit. In 28 games, Calderon started at point in every game and averaged 11.6 points and 6.6 assists and shot 53 percent from the field, 52 percent from downtown. Not much more can be said, as Detroit went on to finish 29-53 and nine games out of the playoffs. The Pistons went 7-21 in games that Calderon played, and 12-24 since acquiring the Spaniard on Jan. 30, 2012.
We Were Teammates Once, Right: Before coming to Big D this year, Monta Ellis was known for his time with the Golden State Warriors, but few may recall his stop in Milwaukee with the Bucks for 103 games. Ellis was traded for Andrew Bogut in the middle of the lockout 2011-12 season and went on to start all 21 games he appeared him. Alongside now Pistons guard, Brandon Jennings, they formed a backcourt that was rather quick. I found it hard to see them co-exist as both love to score and can distribute the ball.
Ellis would average 17.6 points and 5.9 assists in 36 minutes in 21 games after the trade. He would go on to start all 82 games last year, averaging 19.6 points and six assists a game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field. The Bucks would go on to make the playoffs before being swept by the Heat in the first round. Jennings averaged 17.5 and 19 points, and six assists the last two years, so it wasn’t all that bad, the Bucks just didn’t have other key pieces to be a good team.