Game 14 – January 19, 2012: Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz

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The Dallas Mavericks did not start off this season setting the world on fire; as Jazz fans we kind of know how that feels. While the Mavs are sitting at 8-7 right now, and even though they are currently in 9th place in the Western Conference, they are still the World Champions. They experienced some roster turn over from the previous year – but they are still capable of winning big games. They’ve lost to a number of teams we would also lose again. The only recent difference is that the Utah Jazz beat the LA Clippers two nights ago, and the Mavericks were not equal to the task last night.

They are still a team powered by Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, and new additions of Lamar Odom and Delonte West. Most of them are having a down season so far, but Dallas will still give our core of Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Raja Bell, and Gordon Hayward a very solid test (if not outright challenge). Devin Harris and Josh Howard both had very successful stints as member of the Mavericks years ago. It’s not a revenge game situation, but it’s quite clear that Harris may be motivated to go against the guy he was traded away for.

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Sight Reading:

The Jazz play the Mavs four time this year, and this is the first of those four. On TNT tonight (so really late at night) we’ll see the Jazz (a very average-ish team) go up against the Mavericks – who are going nuts on defense this season. The pace these two teams like to play are quite similar . . . the main issue is that the Mavs get stops. We’re a better rated offensive club, but we’re not a Top 5 offense or anything. The Mavs are the 3rd best defense in the league. The team that can control the ball should control the game.

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Much more info after the jump!

Recapitulation:

The Jazz and Mavs played four times last season, and the Mavs won each time. None of the games were close, in fact, none of the games were within 5 points when the final buzzer sounded.

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The Beats and the Rests:

Can you believe that the Jazz are actually better, on paper, than the Mavs? At least our rotation looks that way. Josh Howard is not going to play tonight, and neither will Vince Carter for the Mavs. (Man, they were both All-Stars!) Derrick Favors returns, though, so that should help. I’m surprised by the improvements by Ian Mahinmi, they look to be very similar in current output. Still – the Jazz should control and dominate the paint. And not just because we can’t get any reasonable scoring from our wings, either. Hopefully C.J. Miles continues to play well, we’re going to need him to step up if Gordon Hayward continues to bomb in his second season.

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Soloists:

It seems like Millsap has to go through the entire roster of Western Conference All-Stars like this is some sort of Mortal Kombat tournament. He killed Pau Gasol, and forced a submission from Blake Griffin. He will have to keep playing at a great level to get past Dirk.

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The Remix:

Utah doesn’t get a lot of quality wins – or at least that’s what the critics say. The new ‘spin’ they’ll have to resort to would be actually admitting the Jazz are playing well – if they win tonight. If Utah fails to do so everyone will just fall back and say "see, I told you they’re bums!"

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Liner Notes:

  • Utah will be without Josh Howard
  • Dallas will be without Vince Carter
  • Dallas played last night and lost in a tough game against the Los Angeles Clippers
  • They did not get into the hotel last night until around 3 am MST

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