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Previewing The Mavericks/Jazz

It's a bit eery how similar these teams are right now.  You already know that they're both on 7-game winning streaks.  Their overall records (Mavs 14-4, Jazz 15-5) are close.  They're both teams that have been known for their offense in recent years but have stepped up things defensively this season.  They're both shooting 47% from the field while holding their opponents to a low shooting percentage.  The Jazz are a little better offensively while Dallas is a bit better defensively.

What I'm getting at is that tonight's game should be close.  Despite the Jazz having a large majority of their games decided by 10 points or more, this one figures to be much closer.

The Jazz have done fairly well though against the top-rated defenses in the league.  They've done well against the Magic, Heat, Hornets, Bucks, and Pacers while struggling against the Spurs.  So we'll see if they can continue to move the ball well against the Mavericks.

Dallas has had some impressive wins in their win streak.  They've beaten the Hawks, Thunder, and Spurs on the road while taking care of business at home against the Heat, Piston, Rockets, and Timberwolves.

Most of the Jazz wins have been at home but have been impressive as well, picking up big victories over the Lakers, Hornets, and Pacers. 

What I'm looking forward to the most tonight is AK on Dirk.  A couple of seasons ago he was on him when we had injuries and I thought he did a great job on him.  He has the length to bother his shots and can handle him off the dribble. 

I don't know how much of that we'll see tonight as that leaves Millsap covering Caron Butler which will cause problems.  I could see the Jazz using some of their man-zone defense tonight.  I'm glad I'm not calling the shots tonight.

The other matchup that will be good will be Jefferson and Chandler.  Big Al is finally getting in his groove while Chandler is having a near career year.  He has an offensive rating of 141 (!) while putting up a defensive rating of 97.  Those are All-star numbers.  After 18 games, that's a pretty good sample size.

Regardless of the outcome, we should see a great game tonight between the two teams.