Dallas Mavericks Preview: How to Beat the Minnesota Timberwolves
By Jay Knodell
The Dallas Mavericks look to build on good win over Boston when they face the talented, but inexperienced Minnesota Timberwolves. Here’s how they do it.
The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of an overtime win over the Boston Celtics on Monday, and look to build on it with a victory over Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The two teams faced off not too long ago, with the Mavericks collecting a six-point victory nine days ago.
The last game between the two teams wasn’t all that aesthetically pleasing. Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points on 12-22 shooting and Chandler Parsons had an efficient 14 points on 6-7 accuracy, but the team shot 6-20 from long range and the starting backcourt combined to go 3-18 from the field. The Timberwolves shot just 42% from the floor, led by Wiggins and his 21 points.
A Dallas victory would give them 25 of them on the season, slightly behind pace for another 50-win season as we moved past the halfway point on Sunday. Here’s how they get that 25th victory.
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Make Minnesota Play Half Court Offense
The Minnesota Timberwolves are not among the league leaders in fast break points, checking in currently at 18th in the league with 11.4 a night. But with so many players capable of getting up and down the floor and point guards adept at finding them, it’s an area where Minnesota could have an advantage over the Mavericks. After all, Dallas is 28th in the league in opponent fast break points, allowing 15.5 a night.
The Mavericks did a good job limiting Minnesota’s chances there the last time they played, holding the T’Wolves to seven transition points. To do it again they’ll need to keep the live-ball turnovers to a minimum and really hustle back on defense. Or else we could end up seeing more stuff like this:
**Update: Dirk Nowitzki will not play against the Timberwolves due to soreness and swelling in his right knee.**
Dirk Nowitzki was definitely the highlight of Dallas’ win over Minnesota last time, and they’ll need more from him. He led all scorers with 29 points, and was big in the fourth quarter as the Timberwolves mounted a late-game comeback.
Minnesota really doesn’t have anyone capable of bothering him consistently on the offensive end, and Dallas should look to him early and often. Especially since he may have emerged from a semi-slump in the fourth quarter and overtime periods against the Celtics. He scored 21 of his 31 points against Boston in those 17 minutes, continuing his clutch play in close games.
Keep Chandler Parsons Involved
Chandler Parsons has looked better as of late, and while whether or not he’s turned the corner in his recovery is still up for debate, there’s no arguing that when Parsons is getting touches on the offensive end the Mavericks are a better team.
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That doesn’t necessarily mean he needs to be getting 15 shots a game, but his ability to collapse the defense off the dribble and find open shooters is a (DJ Khaled voice) “major key” to the Dallas offense.
He made a few really nice plays in the late stages of the Celtics game that opened up the barrage of three-pointers the Mavericks unleashed in overtime. He even hit one himself.
Look for him to attack the rim against a team that ranks 24th in opponent points in the paint, and if the defense collapses, to locate Dirk, Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams, and others on the perimeter.
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The game tips off at 7:30 pm CT. Make sure to follow us @thesmokingcuban for in-game updates and analysis.