After falling in a tough loss versus the Miami Heat last night, the Dallas Mavericks look to go .500 on their back-to-back against the young Utah Jazz.
The Dallas Mavericks are 14-28 and currently ranked 14th in the Western Conference, yet winning is still the goal in the Big D. Somehow Dallas is only 4 games behind the 8th spot in the West, and Dirk and Co. are gunning for the playoffs.
After racking up three wins in a row, things were looking up, until the Mavs dropped a dud against the Heat. Now they are looking to get back in the win column at home against the Utah Jazz.
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The Jazz are 27-16 and currently are riding a four game win streak. Their young core plays very tough defense and protects the ball well. Led by Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert, Utah will give the Mavs a difficult challenge tonight.
The last time these two teams faced, Dallas played a very solid game. They hung around without letting Utah jump out to a big lead, and then made a great fourth quarter push to secure a tie game with 12 seconds left. Then, in heart breaking fashion, Deron Williams had a brain fart and threw up a 3 with 8 seconds on the clock. That truly, dumbfounding mistake gave Rodney Hood the opportunity to race down the floor for a last second game-winning shot from deep.
With the last performance and the playoffs in mind, Dallas will need to bring their A-game.
Look for the Mavericks to continue the late trend of a balanced offensive attack to outgun the Jazz. With Dirk Nowitzki playing the 5 and dragging Rudy Gobert away from the paint, Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry and others should attack the rim early and often.
Also, both the Mavs and Utah are two of the slowest paced teams in the league, so limiting offensive rebounds, avoiding turnovers, and shot making should be the key factors in this matchup.