The collective backs of the Dallas Mavericks (33-36) are still up against the wall, but they’re still fighting and still having hope. They have a chance to make up even more ground as they take on the Utah Jazz (34-35). With the win over Boston, it marked the third time this month Dallas has been three games below .500. They’ve yet to get the number down to two in their previous attempts.
With the opportunity to make up a game against one of the teams their chasing for the 8th spot in the West on the line, Dallas must let it all hang out against Utah. The Jazz are also fighting for their playoff lives and looking to avoid a first. They are in danger of dropping nine straight outside Salt Lake City for the first time since a 17-game skid spanning Nov. 21, 1981-Feb. 6, 1982.
Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Jazz.
Utah has won the last three matchups with the Mavericks. The Jazz took the first two meetings between the two teams this year (both at Utah) and will look to sweep the season series with a victory at Dallas on Mar. 24. The Mavericks have won four straight and 18 of the last 21 matchups in Dallas.
The Jazz snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Mavericks with a 123-121 triple-overtime win at Utah on Apr. 16, 2012. The triple-overtime game on lasted 3 hours and 16 minutes and was the longest game in Mavericks history. Dallas’ only other triple-overtime game occurred on Dec. 29, 1989 (Dallas lost 144-140 at Portland).
The Mavericks were without the services of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki for the game against the Jazz on Oct. 31. Nowitzki recorded 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes at Utah on Jan. 7. Nowitzki has now totaled 100 points in his last three games against the Jazz (he’s averaging 33.3 ppg in his last three meetings with Utah). Nowitzki scored 40 points in two consecutive games against the Jazz (40 vs. Utah on Mar. 3, 2012 and 40 at Utah on Apr. 16, 2012).
Brandan Wright had 15 points and two blocks in 26 minutes at Utah on Oct. 31, but missed the game against the Jazz on Jan. 7 due to a left quadriceps strain. Chris Kaman (strained right calf) missed the game at Utah on Oct. 31, but had 14 points and nine rebounds against the Jazz on Jan. 7.
It’s a Small World:
Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley played four seasons for Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle in Indiana from 2003-07 and one season for Mavericks assistant coach Jim O’Brien in Indiana in 2007-08. Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll played a season and a half with Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo in Memphis from 2009-11. Corey Crowder, the father of Mavericks forward Jae Crowder, played in 51 games for the Jazz in 1991-92 and averaged 2.2 points and 6.4 minutes. He was a teammate of Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin on Utah in 1991-92.
Mavericks forward Brandan Wright played part of the 2010-11 season with Jazz forward Derrick Favors on the New Jersey Nets. Jazz guard Mo Williams was traded from the L.A.
Clippers to Utah as part of the three-team deal that sent Lamar Odom from Dallas to the L.A. Clippers.
1. Dictate the pace. Utah is a physical team that likes to control the game at a slower pace. They rank 20th in the league in that category and it makes sense with the imposing big men they like to run their offense through. Dallas has to play strong defense, without fouling, and get out and run at every opportunity.
2. Get back on the Brandwagon. Elton Brand had his first healthy scratch of the season in the game against the Boston Celtics. He told reporters that he was aware that he was likely going to see his minutes reduced, via discussion with Rick Carlisle. His numbers leading into the game against Boston weren’t what we’ve usually seen out of the big man this season. Maybe it’s fatigue or whatever, but Dallas will be hoping that the extra day off is just what Brand needed.
3. Rebound. Utah ranks sixth in the league in offensive rebounds with a total of 856 (12.4 per game). Rebounding has clearly been an issue for the Mavericks, so the Jazz are going to provide a stout opponent for them in a game they desperately need.
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.