Nov 7, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9), guard Kevin Martin (23), forward Thaddeus Young (33), forward Andrew Wiggins (22) and center Gorgui Dieng (5) huddle up against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Mavericks (6-3) are coming of their biggest win in franchise history after crushing the 76ers by 53 points last game. They’ll look to keep that momentum going against the rebuilding Minnesota Timberwolves (2-5). Tipoff is at 7:30 PM CT.
The Mavs surged out to an early lead against the 76ers behind a balanced attack, with every player scoring. They maintained a the lead throughout the second half, not letting the Sixers get back into it. Maintaining that focus against the Timberwolves will be key. As Dirk said in the Sixers postgame: “we’re not good enough to coast, we got to keep up the pressure.”
With Ricky Rubio’s injury, the Wolves rely even more heavily on young players to make contributions. Wiggins and Lavine will play big minutes, and their athleticism could pose some problems for the Mavericks defense. The Timberwolves also have some interesting veterans that could be worth keeping an eye on in case they become available. Kevin Martin may not bring a lot on the defensive end, but his ability to spread the floor could be valuable in the second unit.
Thaddeus Young could prove a difficult matchup, and Pekovic’s size could be hard for non-Tyson Chandler bigs to handle. This will be a good chance for the team to see how the frontcourt defense is shaping up. On the offensive side, look for Dirk to continue his hyper efficient ways and the Tyson Chandler-Brandan Wright combo to get plenty of lobs against the slower groundbound Minnesota center duo.
If the Mavericks take this game seriously it’s possible they will get out to a decent lead. How the bench performs will help Rick Carlisls as he settles into his bench rotation beyond Devin Harris and Brandan Wright. There are still some minutes up for grab, it’s just a matter of who will play their way into them.
Taking Care of Business
This is an easier part of the Mavericks schedule, so there will be the temptation to look past some of these games. It is also an opportunity for the players to figure out their roles and gel on both ends of the floor against some easier competition. The Sixers game set a good tone, we’ll see if the Mavs can build on that performance next game.