Setting the Table: Atlanta Hawks (Game 67)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 18, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The schedule can be unkind. It definitely is as the Dallas Mavericks (31-35) take on the Atlanta Hawks (37-29). The schedule is unkind as both teams are on the second night of a back-to-back and playing their fourth game in five nights. Dallas is 5-8 in the second half of a back-to-back this season.

Dallas is four games back of the 8th spot in the West with only 16 games to go. They likely won’t get any favors from the Hawks as Atlanta is still fighting for playoff positioning. It is likely that the Mavericks will once again be without the services of Shawn Marion as he’s still recovering from a left calf strain. He has missed the team’s last six games due to the injury.

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

Series Notes:

The Hawks have taken the last two meetings with the Mavericks. Dallas won 19 of the previous 25 meetings with Atlanta prior to dropping the most recent two. In the first matchup between the two teams this season (at Dallas on Feb. 11), the Hawks defeated the Mavericks 105-101. Dirk Nowitzki tallied a team-high 24 points and a team-high seven rebounds in 36 minutes for Dallas in the loss. Darren Collison recorded a double-double with 14 points, five rebounds and a game-high 10 assists in 33 minutes. O.J. Mayo contributed 19 points in 38 minutes. Vince Carter pitched in 13 points (4-5 3FGs) and five rebounds. Brandan Wright recorded 11 points and five boards.

The Mavericks have won eight of the last 13 meetings with the Hawks on the road, but the Hawks have taken three of the last five in Atlanta.

It’s a Small World:

Hawks guard DeShawn Stevenson played in 96 games (59 starts) for the Mavericks from 2009-11, averaging 4.5 points in 14.8 minutes. Stevenson was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 title team and led Dallas in 3-pointers made in the 2011 championship series against Miami (shot 13-23, .565, in 6-game series vs. Miami).

Hawks guard Devin Harris played for Dallas from 2004-08 and averaged 9.4 points and 3.4 assists in 22.8 minutes. Harris was a member of the Mavericks’ 2006 Western Conference Championship Team. Harris and Mavericks swingman Vince Carter played a season-and-a-half together in New Jersey from 2008-09.

Mavericks forward Jae Crowder (Villa Rica), Mavericks center Bernard James (Savannah) and Williams (Snellville) all grew up in Georgia.

In a trade deadline deal on Feb. 21, Dallas acquired guard Anthony Morrow from Atlanta in exchange for guard Dahntay Jones.

Hawks player development coach Nick Van Exel played in 100 games (three starts) for Dallas from 2002-03, averaging 12.7 points and 4.3 assists in 27.8 minutes. Hawks assistant coach Bob Weiss was an assistant with the Mavericks from 1980-86. Hawks Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations Rick Sund helped assemble the first Mavericks roster in franchise history and was also the youngest general manager in NBA history (the expansion Dallas Mavericks hired him in 1979 at age 28).

Three Keys:

1. Don’t forget about Dirk. It was clear that the storyline of the game against the Thunder was the fact Dirk didn’t take a single shot from the field in the fourth quarter after going 8-of-10 from the field in the first three quarters. The Mavericks need to rise above the defensive setups opposing teams make and ride Dirk. Atlanta isn’t a bad place to start as Dirk averages 26.2 points in 13 games in Atlanta, and he had 24 in the latest overall matchup.

2. Keep tabs on Kyle Korver. Korver is leading the NBA in 3FG% (.459) while ranking fourth in 3FGM (156). Korver has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last 59 games
played, the longest streak of his career and the longest active streak in the NBA. He had previously hit a three in 28 straight contests from Nov. 16, 2005 through Jan. 12, 2006. Korver’s run is the longest in Hawks history, as he has surpassed Mookie Blaylock’s 42-game streak (Mar. 26, 1996 through Jan. 11, 1997). Additionally, he ranks sixth among active NBA players in 3FG% (.418) and is 17th among active players (31st all-time NBA/ABA history) in total three-pointers with 1290.

3. Bring it. The margin for error now for Dallas is as small as it is ever going to be. They can’t afford to have a stretch of losing three of their last four games and that would happen with a loss to Atlanta. “We have to dig deep,” Elton Brand said after the game against the Thunder. “This is a game that can make or break our season.” Time is running out for the Mavericks. It’s now or never.

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.