Previewing Mavs’ Matchup With Rival Rockets
The Mavs will face off with their arch rivals on Tuesday night, clashing with the Houston Rockets in a lone star matchup.
The rivalry has been dominated by the Rockets of late dating back to their resounding five-game series triumph over the seventh-seeded Mavs en route to a Western Conference Finals appearance versus the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. The two sides are completely different a few seasons later, but the two still battle in close contests almost every time.
Dallas struts into this matchup with a 9-22 record, a disappointing start to a season many believed featured the Mavs as a dark-horse candidate to make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs. The Houston Rockets enter the game with an impressive 23-9 mark that included a ten game winning streak at one point.
This matchup figures to be an energetic, entertaining game with an end-to-end pace that will come down to three point shooting. Unfortunately for the Mavs, that may very well be their undoing this evening.
The Rockets lead the league in made three pointers by a staggering margin. Through just thirty-two games, they have drilled 476 long balls, seventy-nine more than second place Cleveland. James Harden, Ryan Anderson, and Eric Gordon are the main shooters on the team, but Mike D-Antoni’s offense gets plenty of contributions from Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, and Sam Dekker.
Dallas’s challenge this evening will be containing the rockets’ elite perimeter shooting and keeping James Harden off of the foul line. Harden’s ability to draw fouls was a major factor in the Mavs’ demise during their playoff series with Houston, and perimeter defenders such as Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes have to keep Harden along the perimeter firing up jump shots.
Starting center Andrew Bogut‘s availability for the game is unknown, but if he is able to play the Mavs would be at 100% health for the first time all season. Having all fifteen bodies suited up would be great news for a team desperate to get on a hot streak. The Mavs square off with their rivals at 7:30 PM local time at the American Airlines Center.