W2W4: Mavs not concerned about weary legs
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Mavericks are coming off their highest minutes game across the board of the season with five players logging at least 37 minutes, led by Dirk Nowitzki going 43 and Jason Kidd hitting 39, his first venture of more than 35 minutes.
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The Mavs initially planned to have a morning shootaround at Salt Lake City because of Sunday's game being played early in the afternoon. The team arrived in Salt Lake City in the early evening, but coach Rick Carlisle opted to forgo the shootaround and give the club a few extra hours of rest.
After Sunday's overtime loss to the Lakers, Kidd said he would expect to play tonight against what will be a desperate Jazz team that is 21-8 at home and could find itself out of the playoff mix with its next loss. Kidd sat out Friday's game at Portland, the second of a back-to-back, two games into his return from a strained right groin.
The Mavs enter tonight's game tied with Denver in the loss column and with one fewer loss than Houston. The Nuggets and Rockets face off tonight in Houston and then the Rockets go to Dallas on Wednesday. The Mavs hold the tiebreaker over both teams, as well as hard-charging Phoenix, which is just one game back of the Rockets.
Kidd said he's not overly concerned about the club's playoff position.
"What do we have, five games left?" he said. "We win all five, we’re fine."
Records: Mavs (34-27); Jazz (31-30)
When: 8 p.m.
Where: EnergySolutions Arena
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Rebounding. The Jazz rank third in the NBA in offensive rebounding, grabbing on average 13 a game, and they're fourth overall in total rebounding. The Mavs' weak link for some time now has been defensive rebounding and giving up way too many second-chance points. The Lakers grabbed 15 offensive boards Sunday and outscored Dallas 18-9 on second-chance points.
Key matchup: Paul Millsap vs. Dirk Nowitzki
Millsap is always a rugged matchup and he's posted some big numbers in recent games. As they did against the Lakers, the Mavs must use their starting center to defend a high-scoring opposing center. Al Jefferson is averaging 19.4 points and that helps Millsap create in other areas. Nowitzki is coming off a 9-of-28 shooting performance at L.A. on Sunday and is lugging around a sub-40 shooting percentage in the past five games.
Injuries: Mavs -- G Rodrigue Beaubois (right calf strain) is questionable. Jazz -- G Raja Bell (left knee) is out; F Josh Howard (left knee) is out; G/F C.J. Miles (left calf strain) is out; G Earl Watson (right knee) is out; F Jeremy Evans (right ankle sprain) is questionable; F DeMarre Carroll (mild concussion) is questionable.
Up next: Houston Rockets at Mavs, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Mavericks news, Dirk Nowitzki and much more.
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Play Podcast ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the NBA playoffs.
Play Podcast Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the contrasting styles of the Pacers and Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, Bulls-Heat, Tom Thibodeau, the state of the West and more.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about who he would rather have if forced to choose between Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Play Podcast Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of Chris Paul joining the Mavericks and break down what kind of pitch Mark Cuban would have to make to the NBA's best point guard.
Play Podcast ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to touch on the storylines in the NBA playoffs and offer a Mavs perspective.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' disappointing season and what needs to happen for them to get back to the playoffs.