Throw the records and averages out for the first two games the Mavericks had in Europe. It really gets started tonight as the Mavericks host the Houston Rockets. The last time the Mavericks were on the floor was on March 5th as they were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since then, the Mavericks have seen a dramatic overhaul to their roster. Fans attending or watching the game will get their first real glimpse at the new-look Mavs against real NBA competition.
Here are some things of note to set the table for the game against the Rockets.
The Mavericks swept the 2011-12 season series with Houston (3-0) and have now won seven straight regular-season meetings with the Rockets. The Rockets’ last victory over the Mavericks in the regular season came at Houston on 12/31/09 (defeated Dallas 97-94). While the Mavericks have handled the series against the Rockets, the games have come down to the wire. Five of the last six meetings have been decided by seven points or less. Dallas has won 21 of the last 27 regular-season matchups with the Rockets. The Mavericks have gone 16-4 in their last 20 games against the Rockets at home and Dallas has taken the most recent four meetings at American Airlines Center. The Rockets’ last road win over the Mavericks was a 116-108 overtime decision on 12/18/09.
Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 31 points in the victory over Houston on 3/24/12. In the process, he moved past Charles Barkley (23,757) and into 19th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with his 31st point of the game (a free throw at the 18.5-second mark of overtime). Nowitzki averaged 29.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 apg and 37.7 mpg in three starts against the Rockets last season. Brandan Wright recorded a career-high seven blocked shots at Houston on 3/24/12. He became the eighth player in Mavericks history to record seven blocks in a game and the first since Erick Dampier had seven vs. Chicago on 2/25/08. Wright averaged 10.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.7 bpg and 28.3 mpg against Houston last year, while shooting 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the field.
It’s a small world:
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale and Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle were teammates on the Boston Celtics from 1984-86 and won an NBA championship together in 1986. Linsanity returns as comes back to Dallas. Rockets guard Jeremy Lin began his NBA career with the Mavericks’ Las Vegas summer league team in 2010. Rockets player development coach Greg Buckner played for the Mavericks from 1999-2002 and again in 2006-07. He averaged 5.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 19.5 mpg in 205 games (37 starts) with Dallas. The Sunshine state proves to be a common ground for most of the players on the floor tonight. Vince Carter (Daytona Beach), Dominique Jones (Lake Wales), Chandler Parsons (Casselberry) and Tony Douglas (Tampa) were all born in Florida.
Milestone on the Horizon:
The Mavericks’ next preseason win will be their 100th in franchise history. Dallas holds an all-time record of 99-123 in the preseason. The Mavericks went 0-2 in the preseason last year, losing to Oklahoma City both times. Since 2000, Dallas has finished the preseason at or above .500 eight times and recorded a franchise-high six preseason wins in both 2000 and 2005. Rick Carlisle holds an all-time record of 43-30 in the preseason.
Jeremy Lin will sit out tonight’s game due to a schedule day off. Omer Asik is going to try to convince the coaching staff to let him play in tonight’s game, despite the team’s wishes to give him the night off. Rookie Royce White is questionable to suit up tonight and make his debut.
Rick Carlisle told the media that Dirk Nowitzki would sit out tonight’s game due to a sore right knee. Carlisle confirmed that Nowitzki will speak after the game. Carlisle was apprehensive to discuss the notion of a rotation without Nowitzki in the mix. He did confirm that Elton Brand will start in place of Dirk Nowitzki. Carlisle would go as far as saying that “There’s a lot of different ways we could go off that.” He continued, “there’s a lot of different things we can do.” With his usual poker face, Carlisle said, “tonight is premature to have that conversation (moving forward without Dirk).”
Have I mentioned lately that the waiting game sucks?