Tonight the Mavs look to continue integrating new players into the rotation and build chemistry against a rolling Miami team.
The Dallas Mavericks are coming off the win against the Kentucky Post Players, I mean Pelicans, and look to start a win streak tonight.
In addition to adding Nerlens Noel, Dallas signed Quinn Cook and Ben Bentil to 10-day contracts this week. While Nerlens will definitely play a large part in this game, it is unclear what Cook or Bentil will be able to contribute tonight against Goran Dragic and the streaking Heat.
Recently, Miami has been one of the hottest teams in the league (ha), with a 13 game win streak in the past month and winners of eight of their past ten, as verified by ESPN. Their last three wins have come against Indiana, Atlanta, and Houston, with none of those games being all that close.
While their record is mediocre like the Mavs’, since the new year they have been a changed team and sit only one game back of Detroit in the Eastern Conference Playoff race.
A battle to watch in tonight’s game will involve how well Noel plays against Hassan Whiteside. Noel handled DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis about as well as could be expected playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki last game, which should give Mavs fans hope for tonight.
Typically, Dirk at center versus Whiteside would spell doom in the paint for Dallas, but Noel is an excellent defender; quick and athletic enough to battle with Whiteside on the boards and still strong enough to hold his own on the block. If he negates the Heat’s inside punch, it will significantly help Dallas defensively.
As well as having a strong inside presence, the Heat also have a perimeter game led by Goran Dragic that’s become one of the hardest to guard in the league. Their slashing guards will have to be met head on by Matthews, Yogi, and Curry to stop excessive paint penetration, which would tank our entire defense.
Typically I do a prediction at the end of previews, but since I’m 0-4 so far on scores I’m just going to predict the outcome. Nerlens Noel’s extra practice time and the rested legs for the vets will enable a positive outcome for Dallas. Check back to The Smoking Cuban after the game for a recap and to see if my losing streak will continue!