Setting the Table: Los Angeles Lakers (Game 74)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 2, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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With only nine games, the Dallas Mavericks (36-37) are looking at their last real chance to make up ground to try to extend their 12-year postseason streak with this four-game road trip, starting against the Los Angeles Lakers (38-36).

The Lakers will be without Steve Nash due to a right hamstring strain and a hip injury. Metta World Peace will miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery. O.J. Mayo is dealing with a left shoulder injury, but plans on continuing to be the Mavs’ iron man and not miss the game against the Lakers.

Tuesday’s game will have an added flair as it’s a nationally televised game. It also will feature Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey retirement ceremony at Staples Center. With all of that and being the road team, Dallas will have to do everything in their power to play the role of spoiler for Los Angeles. It’s the biggest game of the year…until the next biggest game of the year. Time is running out for Dallas. They need to let it all hang out and see where the chips fall in this showdown against the Lakers.

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

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Setting the Table: Chicago Bulls (Game 73)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 30, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The physical challenge continues for the Dallas Mavericks (35-37) as they finish their six-game homestand against the Chicago Bulls (39-31). Dallas will need to be ready as Chicago is as tough as they come, even if they’re short-handed. The Bulls ended the Heat’s 27-game winning streak with a 101-97 victory on Wednesday, bringing a close to the second-longest streak in NBA history. The win marked the longest streak ever stopped by the Bulls, with the previous high being a 20-game streak by the Milwaukee Bucks that the Bulls ended with a 110-103 overtime victory in Chicago on March 9, 1971.

With a road record of 19-15 (.559), Chicago holds the third-best road winning percentage in the Eastern Conference. The Mavericks will need to be ready, and be ready early with an early tip-off time, for what they Bulls will throw their way, no matter who is on the floor. Dallas was able to catch a break with the Los Angeles Lakers losing to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. They didn’t lose any ground in their chase for the 8th spot, but they can’t afford to let opportunities like that slip through their fingers anymore.

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

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Setting the Table: Indiana Pacers (Game 72)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 28, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (35-36) will continue their homestand with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers (45-27). It has come to this. After a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 9, the Mavericks were 10 games below .500, 13-23. The Mavericks made a pact in February to say that they will grow beards until they get back to .500. Omar the Barber will be in the building as they are one win away from making it all of the way back to level footing.

They have gone 22-13 since they were 10 games under .500 after a loss to the Clippers on Jan. 9 (seventh best in NBA, fifth best in West). Dallas is trying to become only third team since 1989 (Both the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers in 1997) to make playoffs after being 10 games or more under .500.

The Pacers do come in on the second night of a back-to-back after a solid 100-91 win on the road against the Houston Rockets, but Indiana does present a very stout challenge for Dallas. There’s still no margin for error for the Mavericks as both the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz won last night. That means Dallas moved back to the 10th spot in the West, one-and-a-half games back of the Lakers for 8th and a half-game back of the Jazz for the 9th spot (Jazz still holds the tiebreaker).

In breaking news, the Pacers announced that forward Danny Granger will miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery on his left knee.

Via the team’s statement:

“The decision was made after all conservative treatment options could not alleviate the soreness Granger encountered. After consultation between Granger, the Pacers’ medical staff and Dr. James Andrews, surgery became the preferred option.

Granger underwent a procedure in late October for patellar tendinosis. He returned Feb. 25 and played five games before continued soreness in the knee sidelined him. After further rehab did not ease the soreness, surgery was decided on. He is expected to be ready for training camp.”

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

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Setting the Table: Los Angeles Clippers (Game 71)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 26, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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Somehow or someway, it’s all coming together. The Dallas Mavericks (34-36) go into their matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers (48-22) 1.5 games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the 8th spot in the Western Conference. How have they gotten to this point? They are 21-16 since Jan. 5 (Dirk Nowitzki in as a starter) and that would have them as 6th-best in the West. It’s a mixture of a favorable schedule, Dirk rounding into form and players such as Mike James, Brandan Wright and others evolving into their current roles.

The team will now face a strong test in the Clippers, a top five team in the West. Dallas is 1-13 vs Top 5 in West. Their only win came against Memphis on Jan. 12 (the second night of a back-to-back for Memphis). In 13 losses, Dallas has averaged 93.8 points on 42.7 percent shooting from the field, 30.9 percent from 3. Their season averages are 101.7 points on 46.1 percent shooting from the field, 37.6 percent from 3. If the Mavericks are serious about the playoffs, they need a win against the Clippers.

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

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Setting the Table: Utah Jazz (Game 70)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 24, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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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.

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Setting the Table: Boston Celtics (Game 69)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 22, 2013 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks need a win in the worst way as they host the Boston Celtics. They can’t afford to start their do-or-die homestand with two consecutive losses. After missing the last eight games with a left calf strain, it appears Shawn Marion will be active for the Mavericks.

The big news is the return of Jason Terry to the American Airlines Center. This will be the first visit for Terry as an opponent after spending eight seasons with the Mavericks from 2004-11. Terry averaged 16.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 32.7 minutes in 619 games (285 starts) with Dallas. “It feels good,” Terry said on walking back into the American Airlines Center. “It feels like home, as it should.”

Among Mavericks all-time leaders, Terry ranks 6th in points (9,953), 7th in assists (2,524), 6th in field goals (3,719), 2nd in 3-pointers (1,140), 8th in free throws (1,375), 7th in 3-point field goal percentage (.388), 6th in free throw percentage (.847), 5th in steals (735), 6th in minutes (20,219) and 6th in games (619). He won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award with Dallas in 2008-09 and was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 title team. Does the nostalgia bring back enough feelings for him to shed tears tonight? “No, I shed tears when I had to leave,” he said. “So I don’t think I have any more left.”

He said it is tough to see his former team struggle because he’s still a “Mav fan at heart,” but he’s still disappointed on how things ended in Dallas. “You like to have a fight for what you earned and we didn’t get that opportunity,” Terry said. “But I mean it’s over now, we’re past that disappointment. And we had to move on.”

It’s evident that Terry will still be well-received when he comes into the game. “Well, he’ll get a great reception,” coach Rick Carlisle said on Terry’s return. “He’s one of the most beloved players I think in the history of this franchise because of his personality, his relationship with the fans and the community and he was a great player.”

Owner Mark Cuban took it one step further. “I hope (the fans) give him a standing ovation,” Cuban said. “He’s a Maverick for life, a part of the family.”

It will be an emotional night. Hopefully, it’s a good, entertaining game.

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

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Setting the Table: Brooklyn Nets (Game 68)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 20, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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It’s a homecoming of sorts as the Dallas Mavericks (32-35) host the Brooklyn Nets (39-28) in their lone appearance to the American Airlines Center. According to Nets guard Deron Williams, “It’s just another game.” It’s easy for him to say that, but it likely means a lot to fans as it is the first time Williams will play in Dallas since Williams chose to stay with the Nets in free agency over coming to Dallas.

The Mavericks are streaking as they’ve won six of their last eight games. They have a chance to move to two games below .500 for the first time since they were 12-14 on Dec. 20. They have a serious chance to make up some ground with a six-game homestand, starting against the Nets. The homestand marks the longest one the Mavericks have this season.

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

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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.

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Setting the Table: Oklahoma City Thunder (Game 66)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 17, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (31-34) are looking to move to two games below .500 for the first time since they were 12-14 on Dec. 20. The Oklahoma City Thunder (49-17) stand in the way of the Mavericks’ pursuit of the 8th seed in the Western Conference. The game marks the first night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. The Mavericks are 2-11 in the first half of a back-to-backs this season. They went 7-15 in the first half of back-to-backs last season.

Dallas will certainly need to bring their defensive disposition against the explosive Oklahoma City squad. The Thunder have scored 113.3 per game and shot 76-for-91 (83.5 percent) from the free-throw line against the Mavericks this season.

Shawn Marion, who led the team with 23 points in the January loss, is expected to miss his sixth straight game because of a strained left calf.

With the Mavericks trying to secure a playoff spot for the 13th consecutive season, they need to show they can beat quality teams. They’ll have their chance in the Sunday showdown with the Thunder.

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

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Setting the Table: Cleveland Cavaliers (Game 65)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 15, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (30-34) don’t have time to dwell on their loss to the Spurs as they host the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-42). The game marks the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. Dallas is 4-8 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. Cleveland will be starting their back-to-back set against Dallas. They will take on the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night. Cleveland is 2-9 on the road this season against Western Conference opponents.

The Cavaliers will be without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. The reigning rookie of the year could be done for the season after suffering a sprained left shoulder this weekend in a loss to Toronto. Shawn Marion’s status is up in the air as he’s still dealing with a left calf contusion. He was going to get examined during the day to get an updated.

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

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