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
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.