Setting the Table: Toronto Raptors (Game 5)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on November 7, 2012 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The hits keep coming for the Dallas Mavericks (3-1) as they will be without Shawn Marion as they host to the Toronto Raptors (1-3) in the final game of their three-game homestand. For those who missed it, the Mavericks announced Tuesday that an MRI confirmed Marion has a sprained left medial collateral ligament (MCL).  In addition to sitting out against the Raptors, Marion will not travel with the team to New York and Charlotte later this week.  He will be re-evaluated next week. In four games this season, Marion has averaged 8.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks in 27.0 minutes while shooting 51.9 percent from the field.

Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com reported that Elton Brand will miss the game against the Raptors due to the birth of his child. That means Chris Kaman will likely have to move back into the starting lineup and work alongside Brandan Wright in the frontcourt. If Roddy Beaubois (ankle) happens to miss the game, that would mean Dominique Jones would be the only player in uniform who remains from the championship roster of 2010-11.

The Raptors might have suffered a big loss with point guard Kyle Lowry having to leave in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle during their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. He is officially listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. Jose Calderon, who the Mavericks had some interest in during the offseason as an acquisition via trade, would be the guy who steps into the starting lineup if Lowry is unable to play.

Series Notes:

The Mavericks and the Raptors met once in 2011-12 (12/30/11) and Dallas recorded a 99-86 win at home. Ian Mahinmi (19), Dirk Nowitzki (18), Jason Terry (17), Shawn Marion (12) and Vince Carter (10) all scored in double figures for the Mavericks in the win. The Mavericks have now taken 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Raptors in Dallas. The Mavericks have also won 13 of the last 16 overall meetings with the Raptors, including the most recent two. Dallas is 13-3 all-time at home versus Toronto. The Raptors snapped a 10-game road losing streak against the Mavericks with a 84-76 win in Dallas on 12/28/10.

It’s a Small World:

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was an assistant with Dallas from 2008-11 and was on staff when the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA championship. Raptors assistant coach Tom Sterner was also an assistant under Rick Carlisle in Dallas from 2008-10. Vince Carter began his career in Toronto and played for the Raptors from 1998-2004. He was named an All-Star five times while with the Raptors (2000-04). Carter, who earned the nickname “Air Canada” while in Toronto, ranks second in Raptors’ franchise history with 9,420 points (Chris Bosh is Toronto’s all-time scoring leader with 10,275 points). Mavericks forward Shawn Marion played in 27 games for the Raptors in 2009. Mavericks guard Dahntay Jones and Raptors forward Linas Kleiza were teammates in Denver during the 2008-09 season. Raptors forward Quincy Acy is from Mesquite, Texas and played his college ball at Baylor. Terry Davis, the father of Raptors forward Ed Davis, played five seasons for the Mavericks from 1991-96 and averaged 8.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 232 games (147 starts) with Dallas.

Three Keys:

1. Ride the hot hand. O.J Mayo is absolutely feeling it right now. He is shooting a 50.9 percent from the floor, 66.7 percent on 3-pointers, and 90.9 percent from free throw stripe. Mayo poured in 32 points against Portland on 11/5, after he netted 30 points the previous game vs. Charlotte on 11/3. Mayo has never scored 30-plus points in three consecutive games in his career. Dirk Nowitzki was the last Maverick to score 30-plus points in three consecutive games from 2/24-2/28/10 (31 vs. L.A. Lakers 2/24/10; 37 at Atlanta 2/26/10; 36 vs. New Orleans 2/28/10). Mayo’s is hot right now, but he’s averaged 15.0 points over eight career matchups versus Toronto, shooting 38.8 percent from the field. Something’s got to give. The way to find out is to let Mayo loose.

2. Run, run, run. Dallas is on average +4.3 in fast break points this season against their opponents. They need to take advantage of the fact that Toronto is on the end of a brutal four games in five nights stretch. The Mavericks are averaging 120.0 points per game on 61.4 percent, 97-of-158, shooting over their last two games.

3. Let the bigs be big. With Elton Brand out, Chris Kaman and Brandan Wright should see extended action together on the floor against Toronto. Both are shooting the lights out to start the season. Kaman is shooting 84.2 percent (16-of-19) from the field this season. Wright is shooting 78.6 percent (22-of-28) from the field this season. With Brand as the power forward, that makes the main contributors from the center position shooting an amazing 80.9 percent (38-of-47) from the field this season.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

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