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Game Preview: Utah Jazz face potentially disinterested, but always dangerous Dallas Mavericks

Game #65: Dallas Mavericks (38-27) @ Utah Jazz (22-42)
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
March 12, 2014 -- 7:00 pm MT
TV: ROOT Sports -- RADIO: 1280 am / 97.5 fm

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
March Game Streams -- Mavs Moneyball -- Mavericks vs Jazz coverage


I'm not normally a big fan of Dallas anything. Sure, I could have valid reasons to like Dallas (Spencer lives there!), but I'm not crazy about them. This season I've found myself rooting more and more for them to win games because, well, because we have a common enemy in the Golden State Warriors. So this is it, the season I guess I openly root for the Dallas Mavericks.

Who, by the way, just lost last night to the Golden State Warriors.

Anyway, last night they lost 108-85, and it was all over after the Dubs drubbed them 24-13 in the third quarter. Dirk Nowitzki looked human (12 points, 6 rebounds, shot 4/11), and as a team they managed to go 30-82 from the field. It wasn't pretty, and their offense just couldn't keep up. So the game was a blowout. There was also injury to insult, as Devin Harris injured his Achilles tendon - and as a result is questionable for tonight. (It would suck if he misses this game, he was on a hot stretch of scoring 10.5 ppg off the bench for them in four straight games)

Dallas has been up and down of late, They won five straight, lost one, won one, lost one, won four straight, lost three straight, won two straight, and lost last night. It reminds me of a rubber ball bouncing up and down. Progressively there's more energy expelled from the system and the successive bounces never get high enough again. It's physics. It's also the case when you have roster build up of vets on ‘last hurrah' campaigns to win the title.

We know all about that, we were there when the Mavs beat us in the playoffs on a Calvin Booth series winning tip in. That's kind of where the Mavs are now.

They are still a good club, and in the playoffs. They have one of the best coaches in the NBA in Rick Carslile, and plenty of starts - Dirk, Monta Ellis, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, and so on. It would be an all-star team back in the early 2000s. Just like the last few Jazz teams would have been one in the early 90s (Danny Manning was on our team guys, do we forget that?)

For the season the Mavs have the 8th best offense by PPG, and 4th best on Off RTG. They play at the 15th fastest pace (an average average of 94.0 possessions per game). Their defense was much better earlier this season, and has fallen off the face of the earth of late. Earlier this season the Jazz have lost to the Mavs twice already. We're still up, 89-64 all time, and a commanding 58-18 in Utah. A tired and hurt Dallas team (also without PG - Gal Mekel, and PF - Jae Crowder) could be a good test for us.

On our side of things, we're a huge question mark every night. In our last game, a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, we were down by 17 in the first half, and went into halftime down 15. The Jazz ended up retaking the lead in the third quarter. It's a very confusing season.

For this game it's really going to come down to match-ups. And for as long as he's been in the NBA, Dirk is one of the hardest guys to cover in recent Jazz history. If he has a bounce back game it could be an early curtain for Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter, and even Jeremy Evans. That said, they all get six fouls. They should use them. Don't let him get that open, one legged jumper from 18 feet. That's a layup for him.

Tonight the Jazz will be without John Lucas III who sprained his ankle in practice, and is in a walking boot.
So, without his vet ability we may lose this game.

Which is kinda what I'm rooting for right now, because we need losses, and we need Dallas wins. What a strange season.