Will Mavs get caught in a T-Wolves trap?
Take Team A. Team A is playing very well of late, say, riding a six-game win streak. On the horizon still two days away is a big road game at Team C, which is also doing very well of late, say, with also a six-game win streak. But, before that game, lurks a home game against Team B, which Team A routinely defeats and is one of the legendary bottom-feeders in the league. In other words, it's a game Team A expects to win.
That's the case tonight for the Dallas Mavericks (13-4) as they play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves (4-13), who are 1-8 on the road. Looking ahead, the Mavs have the season's first matchup with the Utah Jazz in always difficult Salt Lake City on Friday night.
But, that doesn't mean Team B, the T-Wolves, can't be dangerous. Kevin Love recently put up a 31-point, 31-rebound night. Michasel Beasley is averaging more than 21 points a game and Darko Milicic at times plays as though he has a clue.
"We're not looking ahead. This is a team that beat us in here last year once and came close to beating us a second time in here. They shot the ball extremely well in this building, they played us extremely tough and so we're not taking anything for granted."
The Mavs have won 15 of 16 meetings with Minnesota and eight of nine at home. But, the T-Wolves bit them on Feb. 5 of last season, 117-108. That one would not have gone down as a true trap game. The Mavs were in the process of dropping six of eight with the Minnesota hiccup being the fourth loss in the stretch.
Now, March 3 is a different story. The Mavs were just coming off an eighth consecutive win at Charlotte. And while the awful Sacramento Kings were next in line and a more anticipated matchup, it would have been easy to overlook the T-Wolves at home. Dallas almost did, escaping with a 112-109 win.
Rather than drag a disappointing loss to Utah, the Mavs would prefer to carry a seven-game win streak into Salt Lake. Dallas has dropped its last five games there, is 3-10 in its last 13 trips and just 15-55 all-time against the Jazz on their home floor.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.