Firstly I must say congratulations to my Mean Green. North Texas pulled off an impressive victory in style on New Years Day beating the UNLV Running Rebels 36-14. For the sake of time, here is a great recap at the link below.
Tonight the Dallas Mavericks (19-13) will be taking on the visiting Los Angeles Clippers (22-12) at 7:30/CT.
The Clippers come into the American Airlines Center for the first time this season but if history has any indication on the outcome it would favor the Mavericks in this battle. The Clippers have lost 11 of the last 12 in Dallas, including a 109-102 overtime loss on March 26 which was the last time these teams faced off.
On the other side of the court the Dallas Mavericks are coming home off of a perfect road-trip going 3-0 and have been quite impressive despite a surprisingly ineffective Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki was held under 20 points in each of the three road games and shot a combined 34.8 percent from the field. The below average shooting isn’t totally the big man’s fault as he’s dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered against the Washington Wizards in the previous game. There were reports that the Mavericks may keep him out of this contest but the Big German has said that he will play tonight and it’s probably a safe bet he will be looking to impose his offensive will against a physical Clippers team.
MATCH-UPs TO WATCH:
The biggest match-up to watch for in tonights game will be Jose Calderon v. Chris Paul. Defensively i expect a lot of zone by the Mavericks as Chris Paul’s quickness is no match for the defensively challenged Jose Calderon. Help defense and rim protection will be key if the Mavericks want to keep their winning streak alive.
I will admit to being a homer but I must be objective. With that being said, I still feel the Mavericks will come out on top at home against a Clippers team who might be resting up for a back-to-back road trip. The Clippers will play San Antonio Saturday.
Final Score Prediction –
Dallas 110 – LA 102.
The game will be televised locally on FSSW at 7:30.
Final Score: LA – 119 : DAL – 112
The Mavericks and Clippers could not stop one another for the entire first half of play. The score going into halftime was 70-67. Things slowed down in the second half and the Clippers started to dominate the paint going inside for 54 points in the paint. Deandre Jordan had his best game of the season scoring 25 points and adding 18 rebounds. He was an absolute force and imposed his will down low time and time again. Blake Griffin also added 25 points and had plenty of slam dunks which he has made a trademark in his game. Dirk ended up with a team-high 24 points snapping his cold spell of 3 games without going over 20 but it wasn’t enough for the Mavericks in the end. Chris Paul left the game with a separated shoulder and is expected to miss about a month of action.
Beyond The Stats:
While at the game I took one thing from what I witnessed. The Mavericks need help inside. Samuel Dalembert was getting bullied around play after play and the Mavericks couldn’t rebound with the big men of the Clippers. Griffin and Jordan combined for 33 rebounds themselves while the Mavs as a team had only 39. Brandon Wright played well in spurts but he just doesn’t have the size to bang with the Jordan’s of the league for the entire game. Also Doc Rivers did a great job of going with the two point guard backcourt offense with Paul and Collison forcing Monta Ellis to have to guard one while Jose Calderon had to guard the other. I went over before the game how i felt Calderon would be a defensive liability against the quickness of the Clippers and I was right on the money with that prediction. The Mavericks would love to get Devin Harris in this lineup as soon as possible when playing against the West’s faster guards.
The Mavericks will have a chance to redeem themselves at home on Sunday against a New York Knicks team that has struggled thus far this season. Keep a lookout for the next installment of this blog.
Thanks for reading.