Setting the Table: Minnesota Timberwolves (Game 39)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 14, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (15-23) are looking to build their winning streak to three games as they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-17). The Timberwolves are coming into town on the second night of a back-to-back after suffering a 106-88 loss in San Antonio to the Spurs. Dallas is looking to build off their most impressive victory of the season as they manhandled a heavy-legged Memphis Grizzlies squad on Jan. 12. The Mavericks led by as many as 34 points in the fourth quarter against the Grizzlies. It was Dallas’ largest lead in any game this season, previous high was a 29-point lead vs. Charlotte on Nov. 3.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Timberwolves

Series Notes:

The Mavericks have won 19 of the last 24 regular-season meetings with the Timberwolves, but Minnesota has taken four of the last five, including the most recent two. The Timberwolves recorded a 90-82 victory in the first meeting between the two teams this season at Dallas on Nov. 12, and a 114-106 overtime-win at Minnesota on Dec. 15. O.J. Mayo has averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 39.0 minutes in two starts against Minnesota this season. Darren Collison has averaged 14.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 34.0 minuts in two games (one start).

Shawn Marion missed the game on Nov. 12 due to a sprained left MCL. Marion had a double-double, 14 points and 10 rebounds, in the game at Minnesota on Dec. 15. Dirk Nowitzki missed both games against Minnesota this season recovering from arthroscopic right knee surgery. The win on Nov. 12 was the Timberwolves’ second straight victory over the Mavericks in Dallas. The Mavericks have still taken 10 of the last 13 meetings with the Timberwolves in Dallas, however.

On Jan. 1, 2012, Dirk Nowitzki became the sixth player in NBA history to amass 1,000 points against the Timberwolves franchise. joining Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson and Kobe Bryant.

Rick Carlisle recorded his 400th career victory against Minnesota on Jan. 1, 2012.

The Mavericks won 13 straight regular-season games against the Timberwolves from Jan. 7, 2006 through Nov. 3, 2009.

It’s a Small World:

Timberwolves guard Jose Barea signed with Dallas as a rookie free agent in 2006 and played for the Mavericks from 2006-11, averaging 7.1 points and 2.9 assists in 315 regular-season games, 45 starts. He was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team. Dallas was down 2-1 to Miami in the 2011 NBA Finals, but went on to win three straight games, and ultimately a world championship, after Barea was inserted into the starting lineup for Game 4.

Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo was a teammate of Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham on the Memphis Grizzlies in 2011-12. Mayo was originally drafted by Minnesota in the first round. third overall pick, of the 2008 NBA Draft but had his draft rights traded to Memphis with Greg Buckner, Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker in exchange for Brian Cardinal, Mike Miller, Jason Collins and the draft rights to Kevin Love. Love was a college teammate of Mavericks point guard Darren Collison on the 2007-08 UCLA Bruins’ Final Four team. Collison and Mavericks guard Dahntay Jones played with Timberwolves forward Lou Amundson on the Indiana Pacers in 2011-12.

Three Keys:

1. Contain Alexey Shved. The rookie guard has been a problem for the Mavericks this season. He has averaged 17.0 points against Dallas in two matchups this season. The 17.0 points per game is the highest average he has against an opponent he has seen at least twice this season. Though he has been a bright spot for the Wolves, the Mavericks need to make him more of a perimeter shooter as opposed to attacking the basket. Shved is shooting under 40 percent from the field this year.

2. Continue protecting the basketball. After having a major issue with ball security, the Mavericks have gotten back to their old ways and are protecting the ball. The Mavericks tied a season-low with nine turnovers vs. Memphis. The Grizzlies had forced at least 10 turnovers in an NBA-high 138 straight games prior to the game against the Mavericks. Despite playing in four overtime games, the Mavericks have recorded 13-or-fewer turnovers in eight of their last 10 games. Dallas has managed 13-or-fewer turnovers in each of its last five games. The Mavericks have also recorded 14-or-fewer giveaways in each of their last eight games, had 14 turnovers just once in that span: at Miami on Jan. 2. Dallas is averaging 12.0 turnovers per game over its last 10 games.

3. Be patient on offense. There has been some slippage in terms of Minnesota’s team defense. Minnesota has permitted 100+ points in each of the past five, and 12 of 16. They’re allowing 101.4 points per game in the last 16 games, having surrendered just 91.9 ppg in their first 18 starts. It wouldn’t hurt to see if the Mavericks can push their luck on their 3-point shot. Dallas shot a season-high 64.7 percent, 11-of-17, from 3-point range in the win over the Grizzlies on Jan. 12, previous high: 64.0 percent, 16-25, vs. Charlotte Nov. 3. Three Dallas starters didn’t miss a shot from deep: Dirk Nowitzki (3-for-3), O.J. Mayo (2-for-2) and Darren Collison (1-for-1). Shawn Marion went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and was the only starter to miss a three for Dallas.

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.