The Dallas Mavericks look to right the ship against the up and coming Utah Jazz.
The Mavs have had a slow start to the season, and need a win this week to avoid falling into a steep hole. While Utah has missed the playoffs the past several years, they revamped their roster this off-season and are one of the more dangerous teams in the West now. Just last night they blew past the Spurs in San Antonio. Here are the keys to the first Mavs victory.
Shoot above 40%
The first few games of the season were abysmal shooting performances for the most part. Our flow offense has no flow and big contributors are missing shots they need to make for us to be effective. Wes Matthews needs to find his groove offensively. He played well against Houston but needed too many shots to be effective.
Control the ball
Utah is one of the stingiest teams in the league. They have an excellent rim protector in Rudy Gobert, long wings in Joe Johnson and Trey Lyles, and excellent defensive guards like George Hill. The Mavs haven’t done a great job of protecting the ball so far, and if we continue turning it over on offense it will lead to a lot of Utah buckets we will have to match because we’re too old to get back in transition. We are too smart of a team to turn it over as often as we do, and our offense needs all the reps it can get at this point to be effective.
Get Dirk going
Historically Dirk has done well against the Jazz. Derrick Favors has trouble defending him and he’s normally gotten whatever he wants on offense. He should be rested and relatively healthy after sitting out the last game, so looking for him early and getting him open will free up the rest of our guys to make plays.
Shut down the playmakers
Even though Gordon Hayward is out and Boris Diaw probably won’t play, Utah still has a lot of other play makers. Joe Johnson is old but still an effective scorer. George Hill is an excellent floor general and three point shooter, and had a great game last night against the Spurs.
Rudy Gobert is a terror above the rim and if we make too many mistakes in the pick and roll he could really hurt our defense. Trey Lyles had a big night last night, and Joe Ingles is an efficient scoring machine. We have to realize Favors is probably going to have a big night since Dirk’s all but thrown in the towel on defense, so we can’t afford to give up a big night to anyone else.
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That being said, he only played in the first half in San Antonio, so his minutes are something to keep an eye on. The key to winning games is scoring more points than the other team, and since our offense hasn’t lasered in yet, our defense has to carry the load until the ship is righted.
This is going to be an intriguing game. I’m excited to see what kind of adjustments Carlisle makes rotation wise. This is also a huge measuring stick game since we’ll most likely be fighting with Utah for a playoff spot down the line. I think injuries and playing on the second night of a back to back will hamper Utah, and the Mavs are due for a breakout win.