W2W4: Injury-riddled Mavs hope to stay hot vs. Raptors

DALLAS – Rick Carlisle could have a long conversation with former Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey about the tough luck their teams have had on the injury front.

The Mavs are missing their top two players, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, plus Elton Brand will miss a game to join his wife for the birth of their child. Casey’s rebuilding Raptors had their star, offseason trade acquisition Kyle Lowry, leave the arena in a protective boot last night after turning his ankle and exiting a loss to the Thunder.

But Carlisle and Casey aren’t woe-is-me kind of guys. The good friends will try to figure out how to make up for their missing stars at each other’s expense when the Raptors arrive at the American Airlines Center this evening.

“Is it tough? It’s supposed to be tough,” Carlisle said. “That’s why they pay you a lot of money to do this job, last time I checked. If it was easy, they could be pulling guys off the street to do this job.”

Records: Mavs (3-1); Raptors (1-3)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center


Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: The Mavs can’t possibly keep shooting 60-plus percent from the floor, right? With Darren Collison doing a masterful job orchestrating the flow offense, the Mavs hit more than 60 percent of their shots in two consecutive games for the first time in franchise history in their blowout wins over the Bobcats and Trail Blazers. Carlisle is well aware that kind of remarkable efficiency won’t continue, which is why he focuses so much on doing the dirty work well. Rebounding remains the Mavs’ biggest weakness, and they’ll be without their top two rebounders in Marion and Brand. The Raptors aren’t a good rebounding team, either, especially without rebounder/point guard Lowry.

Key matchup: O.J. Mayo vs. DeMar DeRozan – It’s a matchup featuring one-and-done former USC stars. Mayo is coming off consecutive 30-point games for the first time since his rookie year four seasons ago. He’s clicked with point guard Darren Collison, resulting in a lot of open looks for Mayo, who is 13-of-18 from 3-point range in the last two games. DeRozan, who just signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension, is a freakishly athletic 6-foot-7 wing. He got off to an encouraging start as Lowry’s sidekick, but he struggled last night when Lowry left the game early, finishing with only eight points on 2-of-10 shooting in a lopsided loss to the Thunder.

Injuries: Mavs – PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and F Shawn Marion (knee) are out. G Rodrigue Beaubois (ankle) is questionable. Raptors – PG Kyle Lowry (ankle) is out.

Up next: at New York Knicks, 6:30 p.m., Friday.