Some pre-game quotes and stories before tonight's game (8:30 p.m. MST) against the Mavericks:
Mavericks aren't the only one stressing chemistry | Dallas Mavericks Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | The Dallas Morning News
"They stayed together to try to give themselves a chance to win. You can't do it by yourself. You got to have help. I think we've been able to pass the ball better. Guys look like they enjoy trying to get the ball to somebody who has a little better opportunity and when you do that, it makes it a little easier for you.'' It's not Rick Carlisle, although it could be. It's Jerry Sloan, who is as no-nonsense as they come when the subject is taking basketball seriously. Sloan's Utah Jazz started out the season 2-3 and have gone 13-2 since, including a Mavericks-matching seven game winning streak going into tonight's 9:30 p.m. match on FSSW.
Why Dallas Mavericks have more in reserve with Shawn Marion | Dallas Mavericks News | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News
There is no debate Marion's production through the first 18 games is a primary reason the Mavericks are cruising with the second-best record in the conference. Aside from Tyson Chandler, Marion has been perhaps the most crucial cog in making this thing go. "He's made it work," Carlisle said of Marion's acceptance of the reserve role. "You're talking about a guy who's a four-time All-Star and has been a franchise cornerstone in Phoenix. The adjustment he's made to this role has been really important to our success to this point. He's not only playing great, but he's become one of the real leaders of this team. "I don't know that he'll agree that it's the best thing that ever happened to him. But at this point, he's making it work. He's getting everybody's attention. I know our crowd appreciates him and I know his teammates do. And our opponents are taking notice, too."
Mavericks one of the NBA’s best teams, Jazz say | The Salt Lake Tribune
During a 14-4 start that has given Dallas the second-best record in the Western Conference, the Mavs have four players averaging in double figures. Two of them — veterans Jason Terry and Shawn Marion — don’t start. "They have all veteran players, pretty much, on their team," Sloan said. "They’ve got guys who know what they are doing. I just think they’re an excellent team. They don’t make many mistakes. ... "You look at their team — the whole team, the whole picture, the starters and the guys off the bench — they have two teams that are very good. Probably about as good as you’ll see in this league."
Roddy Beaubois' Role With Mavericks in Doubt - Mavs Moneyball
The team's overall weakness in terms of offense is pretty obvious and Dirk Nowitzki has acknowledged it, "We definitely need somebody who can consistently get in the paint and make stuff easier and I think that’s where we’re waiting on Roddy Beaubois to make some stuff happen because he’s that explosive guy that can get in the paint," Nowitzki said. "I think J-Kidd can’t do it anymore on a consistent basis. Jet’s a shooter. I’m a shooter. Caron’s more of a shooter, so we don’t really have a guy that consistently gets in the paint and makes stuff easy. Hopefully Roddy will come back and open our offense up a little bit." So with that in mind, what could the rotation look like with all hands finally on deck?
Mavericks-Jazz Preview - Dec. 3, 2010 - NBA - CBSSports.com
Those mediocre beginnings have quickly given way to a pair of impressive streaks. The Mavericks have won their last seven by an average of 8.7 points. The Jazz have had an even more comfortable time, winning by an average of 14.2 points after stretching their streak to seven with a 110-88 victory over Indiana on Wednesday. "We could have exploded early in the season," coach Jerry Sloan said. "Guys could have gone south. But they stayed together."
Something must give with streaking teams - Dallas Mavericks Blog - ESPN Dallas
'"They're always one of the best teams in the West, obviously well-coached," Nowitzki said. "They always play hard there, their fans are great, so it's definitely a great test for us. But, if we can just keep doing what we're doing we should be all right. If we defend well, get the rebounds and then spread the ball around, let everybody touch it, let everybody score, we're a tough team to beat."
Better home play, defense extend streak - Dallas Mavericks Blog - ESPN Dallas
"The whole thing has been building on defense," Dirk Nowitzki said. "Tyson [Chandler] has been amazing lately, we all can see that, the numbers he's putting up, the energy he's giving us. And then [Brendan] Haywood's been great the last couple of games. With those big boys playing like that in the middle, we're pretty good defensively and that's the key to the whole winning streak."
Utah Jazz wary of deep Dallas Mavericks, not just Dirk Nowitzki | Deseret News
"They've got two teams that are very good," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Probably about as good as you'll see in this league." Team 1: Ten-time All-Star Jason Kidd, ex-Jazz guard DeShawn Stevenson, thriving small forward Caron Butler, former MVP Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler. Team 2: Dangerous scorers such as Jason Terry and Shawn Marion as well as mighty mite Jose Barea, center Brendan Haywood and forward Brian Cardinal.
Jazz, Mavs eye rare regular-season big game | The Salt Lake Tribune
"Games against teams that are playing poorly — that are struggling — those are sometimes the most difficult games," Sloan said. "You say, ‘We’ll get them at the end and win the game then.’ But against teams that are playing well, like Dallas, guys get themselves ready." Going back to the start of 2005-06, the Jazz and Mavericks have played 18 regular-season games. Each team has won nine and lost nine.
Locked On Jazz - Official Site Utah Jazz
THINGS THAT I AM WATCHING FOR Two great teams that are rolling. The energy level should be terrific and the execution could be very very high. These teams matchup very well. Each team has a huge advantage at one position, but otherwise it should be great. Dallas is amazing in late game. Since Rick Carlisle took over the Mavericks they are 40-14 in games decided by 5 or less. Carlisle has an amazing staff with Duane Casey and Terry Stotts, both former head coaches. Marion or AK—which defensive maven can make the largest impact on the game. Deron or Dirk – Both teams have enormous advantage with these MVP candidates which one is going to be able to put his stamp on the game. Jazz 4th quarter defense has been remarkable all season. This is a tough task can they keep that level of play.