The Dallas Mavericks (42-18) will play their fourth of eight straight games at home when they host the scorching Brooklyn Nets (36-31) at 6:30 PM CT.
The Mavericks are currently 2-1 on their home stand, with their lone loss being a one point overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This will be the second and final meeting between the Mavs and Nets. The Nets defeated the Mavericks in Brooklyn 107-106.
The Nets are Hot: Since the new calendar year, the Nets are an Eastern Conference best 26-10.
The Teletovic Show: If you didn’t know who Mirza Teletovic was prior to the last meeting, you know who he is now. He lit up the Mavericks for a game high 34 points on 12-18 shooting (7-11 3-pt). Teletovic did most his damage in the second quarter, where he put up 24 of his 34 points.
Sorry Dallas: When Deron Williams snubbed the Mavericks to stay with the Nets, the Mavericks rebuilding plan was slowed. The Mavericks still don’t have that true star next to Dirk Nowitzki, yet they are probably happy that the deal didn’t happen. Williams has battled injuries since signing his new deal. Also, just in his second season of the deal, he’s averaging just 14.4 points and 6.4 assist, both well below his career averages. That being said, the Mavericks will still have their hands full with the former All-Star guard. In the first meeting, Williams finished with 18 points and 11 assists.
Small Ball: The Nets trot out a starting lineup that consists of two points, one is Williams and the other is the 6’7″ Shaun Livingston, two big and physical wing scorers in Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce, and rookie center Mason Plumlee (filling in for the injured Kevin Garnett). The Mavericks defense will truly be tested, with Shawn Marion being the only capable wing defender. The Mavericks were faced with this same challenge in the first meeting but Williams wasn’t in the starting unit. The Mavericks must find a way to matchup early and avoid another early deficit.
Bench Battle: Teletovic isn’t the only threat off the Nets’ bench. The Nets second unit consist of the versatile Andrei Kirilenko, scorer Marcus Thornton, and Andray Blatche. The Mavericks bench led behind Vince Carter and Devin must have a positive impact, especially if the starters fall behind early.
With a playoff spot and 50 wins within reach, this is a game that can propel the Mavericks to the finish line. The Nets are a hot team that will test the Mavericks on both sides of the court.
This game also marks the first time Jason Kidd will be in Dallas as an NBA head coach.