Mavericks vs T’Wolves Preview: Mavs Look To Continue Streak


Nov 8, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Mavericks 116-108. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS MAVERICKS (41-27) vs MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES- March 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at American Airlines Center

The Dallas Mavericks plays their second game of an eight-game home stand, looking for their fourth-straight win and avoid losing the season series against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 19. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest with Mark Followill, Derek Harper and Jeff “Skin” Wade.

Dallas has won its past three and five of last six.

The Mavericks started their win streak with a 108-101 victory over the Utah Jazz on March 12. They followed that up with maybe their most impressive win of the season, winning 109-86 in Oklahoma City on March 16, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the Thunder.

Dallas won its third straight on March 17, defeating the Boston Celtics 94-89 to begin its franchise-long home stand.

The T’Wolves defeated the Kings 104-102 on March 16. Kevin Martin scored a game-high 31 points against his former team while Derrick Williams had a game-high 11 boards for the Kings against the team that drafted him second overall. Ricky Rubio dished out a game-high nine dimes.

Minnesota has alternated wins and losses in its last seven, while going 9-4 in its last 13 games.

Milestone Watch: Vince Carter needs three 3-pointers to pass Rashard Lewis for 7th all time. Dirk sits at 1,446 threes, eight shy from tying former teammate Michael Finley for 23rd. Shawn Marion needs two more to pass Ron Harper for 18th all time.

Your Struggles Are My Gain: Since scoring 31 points vs the Jazz,  Nowitzki, as well as the entire team has not had a 20-point scorer, but in the past two games, they’ve had five players in double figures in each. Nowitzki is shooting 12-of-29 for 36 points in the past two games, but has hit 6-of-11 from behind the arc. Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 19 vs OKC while Samuel Dalembert, Vince Carter and Jose Calderon all contributed double-digit points. Dirk led with 19 vs the Celtics while Marion, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris and Brandan Wright all scored in double figures. Dallas had lost three of its last four contests when no player scored at least 20 points.

Injury Report: The T’Wolves are missing some bigs. Ronny Turiaf has missed the past 11 games with a knee injury. Starting center Nikola Pekovic has been dealing with an ankle injury. He missed some time before returning to play in seven games, only to leave during Minnesota’s 12-point loss to Charlotte on March 14. Gorgui Dieng stepped in vs the Kings and recorded 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

Season Series: Game 3- Dallas lucked out in its last meeting vs Minnesota, otherwise it would’ve been 0-3 this season vs the Wolves. Marion scored a season-high 32 points, hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and swatted away Kevin Love’s 21-foot jumper at the buzzer to help the Mavericks outlast the Timberwolves 100-98 on Dec. 30. The Mavs led by 19 late in the first half and seven with three minutes to play, but the Wolves had the ball down two in the closing seconds. Love got the ball in the corner and rose up for a 3-pointer, but Marion swooped in and swatted it away as Love looked for a foul. Love finished with 36 points and 11 boards.

Game2- Martin had 27 points, Love had his usual double-double, and the Timberwolves snapped a three-game losing streak with a 112-106 victory on Nov. 30. Ellis had a team-high 26 points to go along with six rebounds and six dimes while Dirk added 23 on 10-of-13 shooting and five boards and six assists.

Game 1- Love had 32 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to lead the T’wolves to a 116-108 victory on Nov. 8. Martin added 32 points and five rebounds and Corey Brewer scored 17 points. Ellis once again had a team-high with 23 points while Calderon added 21 points and seven assists. In total, five players scored in double figures for Dallas. The Mavs led by one at halftime.

Must Win: With 14 games remaining, every game is a must win for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are a season-best 14 games above .500 at 41-27, matching last season’s win total of 41. Dallas is three games back of the Portland Trail Blazers for 5th in the West and 1.5 games back of the Golden State Warriors for 6th. The Mavs are just one game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the final spot in the conference. After going 24-17 at home last season, the Mavs are 22-10 this year while the T’Wolves are 14-19 on the road. Dallas is 21-18 vs the West while Minnesota is 18-22.

So Good Yet So Bad: Minnesota, 33-32, would be the 7th seed in the East, but has to settle for 10th in the West. The T’Wolves rank 4th in the league with 106.1 points per game, 7th with 45 boards a game, and 6th with 23.3 assists a game. Love ranks 4th and 2nd in points and rebounds per game, respectively. Their +3.6 point differential ranks them 7th in the West,  so how is this team not any better? Minnesota is 11-22 vs teams above .500 and 2-5 in games decided by three points or less. And of course, the biggest thing…Kevin Love NEEDS a lot more help.