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W2W4: Mavs vs. Timberwolves, minus the marquee attractions

11/12/2012

Tough break for people who bought tickets for this game.

Most of the marquee attractions will either be wearing a suit while sitting on the Mavs’ bench or watching from their couch in Minnesota.

No Dirk Nowitzki or Shawn Marion for the Mavs. No Kevin Love or Ricky Rubio for the Timberwolves, who are also missing key contributors J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger.

But it’s still a game featuring two teams with winning records, which could be considered a major surprise considering how heavily the Mavs and T-Wolves depend on their All-Star power forwards who have yet to play a minute this season.

The Mavs need a win to stay above .500 and to stop the bleeding after an 0-2 road trip. The Mavs are 3-0 at the American Airlines Center this season.

Records: Mavs (4-3); Timberwolves (4-2)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center

TV: FSSW

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

What to watch: If the Mavs get a chance, can they close against the Timberwolves? That’s a huge question mark after the Mavs’ debacle down the stretch allowed the Bobcats to beat Dallas for the first time in 17 tries. “We’ve got a long to learn about winning,” coach Rick Carlisle said Saturday night. “This was a painful lesson.”

Key matchup: Jae Crowder vs. Andrei Kirilenko -- Crowder, the rookie second-rounder filling in for Marion as a starter, is coming off a rough road trip. New York’s Carmelo Anthony (31 points, seven rebounds) and Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (25 points, 12 rebounds) put up big numbers in wins over the Mavs. Crowder had a total of 11 points and four rebounds during the 0-2 trip. Kirilenko, the longtime member of the Jazz who played last season in his native Russia, is a versatile player who the Timberwolves need to step up as a scorer. He’s an excellent rebounder for a small forward, averaging 7.7 per game this season, which could be especially troubling for the Mavs.

Injuries: Mavs -- PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and F Shawn Marion (knee) are out. Timberwolves -- PF Kevin Love (hand), PG Ricky Rubio (knee), G J.J. Barea (foot) and F Chase Budinger (knee) are out. SG Brandon Roy (knee) is questionable.

Up next: vs. Washington Wizards, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday