W2W4: Jazz are playing a nifty tune
Entering their 16th game of the season, the Dallas Mavericks are looking to avoid their second three-game skid of the season while trying to secure only their second win against a winning team.
The Utah Jazz, which includes former Mavs Devin Harris and Josh Howard (who is expected to sit tonight with a strained left quad), have made a remarkable recovery after a sluggish start, winning eight of 10, three in a row and seven of eight at home.
Records: Mavs (8-7); Jazz (9-4)
When: 9:30 p.m.
Where: EnergySolutions Arena
Radio: 103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Mavs have twice been the victim of final-possession game-winning shots and now must summon the energy and discipline to defeat the league's hottest team. If the Mavs continue to shoot in the low-40 percent range it is going to be very difficult to dig out a win. Dallas ranks 22nd in the league in shooting at 43.0 percent.
Key matchup: Paul Millsap vs. Dirk Nowitzki
The Mavs put Brendan Haywood on Blake Griffin Wednesday night against the Clippers and let Nowitzki handle center DeAndre Jordan,who doesn't present much of an offensive game beyond catching the occasional lob pass. Nowitzki likely won't have that luxury tonight against the Jazz because center Al Jefferson (18.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg) is a highly skilled offensive big man. So that likely pits Nowitzki against the 6-foot-8, 253-pound Millsap, who is on an absolute tear. He is averaging 15.9 points and 8.4 rebounds on the season, but in his last four games he has averaged 23.3 points and 9.8 rebounds.
Injuries: Mavs - G-F Vince Carter (sprained left foot) is out. Jazz - F Josh Howard (strained left quad) is doubtful; F-C Derrick Favors (sprained left ankle) is questionable; G Jamaal Tinsley (dermatitis) is questionable.
Up next: Mavs at New Orleans Hornets, 7 p.m., Saturday
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
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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.