Setting the Table: Toronto Raptors (Game 23)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 14, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (11-11) head north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors (4-19). You read that correctly. The Toronto Raptors only have four wins as they move towards their 24th game of the season. Toronto has the second worst record in the Eastern Conference and in the entire league (Washington – 3-16).

Simply put, this is a game the Mavericks need to get and do so in a comfortable fashion. It doesn’t matter if they played a grueling double overtime game on 12/12 against the Boston Celtics. Just handle your business.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Raptors.

Series Notes:

The Mavericks defeated the Raptors 109-104 in the first meeting between the two teams this year at Dallas on 11/7/12. Chris Kaman (22), O.J. Mayo (22), Vince Carter (17), Darren Collison (15) and Brandan Wright (12) all scored 12-plus points for Dallas in the win. The Mavericks have now won three straight and 14 of the last 17 meetings with the Raptors. The Mavericks are 14-3 all-time at home against Toronto, but only 8-7 all-time on the road against the Raptors. The Raptors’ streak of 986 consecutive games with a 3-point basket ended vs. Memphis on 1/24/11 (2/26/99-1/24/11). The Mavericks now own the longest streak in NBA history with 1,108 consecutive games with a 3-point basket (2/27/99-present). No lead is safe for Toronto when they play Dallas. Dallas rallied from a 24-point deficit on 2/25/06 to defeat Toronto 115-113 in overtime. It was the second-largest comeback in franchise history. The Mavericks tied that comeback on 11/20/07 when they again rallied from 24 down to defeat the Raptors.

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). 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 per game and 7.4 rebounds per game in 232 games (147 starts) with Dallas. Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois was discovered by Raptors guard Mickael Pietrus at an open basketball camp in Guadeloupe.

Three Keys:

1. PROTECT THE BALL. After playing a game where you had a season-high 28 turnovers, this goes without saying.

2. See if Dahntay’s inferno continues. Dahntay Jones made his fourth consecutive start (fifth of the season) at Boston on 12/12/12 and recorded a season-high 12 points to go along with a season-high-tying four rebounds in 32 minutes. His fourth rebound of the game (at the 17.3-second mark of the second overtime period) was the 1,000th rebound of his career. Jones put up a season-high point total for the third consecutive game (11 points vs. Sacramento 12/10/12, 8 points at Houston 12/8/12). Prior to the game at Houston on 12/8/12, he hadn’t managed more than seven points in a game all season. Jones is one of three players to appear in every game for Dallas this season (Carter, Mayo). Dallas is 4-1 with him as a starter.

3. Attack the Raptors defense. Bless Dwane Casey’s heart. He was the defensive coordinator for the Mavericks during his time with the team, but he hasn’t been able to break through and get the Raptors to play defense. At 102.6 points allowed, Toronto is the third worst team in the league in terms of points allowed to the opposition. The Raptors are in the bottom six for both field goal percentage allowed (sixth – 46.0 percent) and 3-point percentage allowed (fifth – 37.9 percent). Just like the game against the Phoenix Suns last week, the Mavericks need to be patient and take whatever the Raptors will give them, because they will give it up.

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.