DALLAS – These aren’t the same ol’ soft Golden State Warriors coming to town.
The Mavericks have won 13 of the last 18 meetings against Golden State, but coach Rick Carlisle sees an opponent that is undergoing a transformation under second-year coach Mark Jackson, his former Knicks teammate.
“They’re extremely different than there were in the past because they’ve restructured the team,” Carlisle said. “They’re much more physical. They’re a top-five defensive (field goal percentage) team. They’ve got a different outlook with how they’re approaching it and they’ve done the right things. When you’re a top-five defensive team, you’re going to make progress.”
The Warriors might progress to the point where they can challenge for a playoff spot this season. That makes them a threat to the Mavs.
Records: Mavs (5-5); Warriors (5-5)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Can the Mavs cut down on their turnovers? They had 22 on Saturday night in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers turned those into 30 points. Carlisle spent a good portion of Monday’s film session addressing the issue. “It’s an execution thing,” Carlisle said. “We’ve just got to make sure that we’re spaced right and make simple reads and the simplest play. Any time we try to get cute with it, it just doesn’t work out.”
Key matchup: Elton Brand vs. David Lee – Carlisle cited scoring in the paint as one of the keys to beat the Warriors. The Mavs need Brand to step up in that department. He’s only had two double-digit scoring games this season. Brand, whose toughness is valued by Carlisle, also has arguably the most difficult defensive assignment against Lee (15.5 points per game). Lee averaged 21.5 points against Brand’s Sixers last season, but he was far from efficient, shooting only 37.2 percent from the floor in the pair of Philadelphia wins.
Up next: vs. New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday