The Cavaliers (15-25) and Mavericks (24-18) are hooking up for an early one at the Q on MLK day. The Cavs are coming off of a big victory on the road over the Denver Nuggets, the Mavericks off of a home loss to the Portland Trailblazers.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (15-25) vs. Dallas Mavericks (24-18)
When: 1:00pm ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Where on my eyeballs: Fox Sports Ohio/ NBA League Pass
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What to watch for: Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs have a nice record, but don't come in playing their best ball. In their last three games, the Mavericks have won a close game against the Suns in which they allowed 107 points, and in losses have allowed 127 to the Blazers, and 129 to the Clippers. Both of those were in regulation, and the Clippers loss was one of the larger implosions this season; The Mavericks were up almost 20 with about 4 minutes left in the game.
The edge for the Cavaliers has to come in the interior. The Mavericks are 29th in the NBA in rebounding, and provide almost no rim protection. The Dallas Front Line:
Dejuan Blair: Starting Center, 6'6, 6.2 rebounds per game, 0.28 blocks per game, allows 57.1% opponent shooting at the rim.
Dirk Nowitzki: Starting Power Forward: 7'0, 5.8 rebounds per game, 0.78 blocks per game, allows 50.4% opponent shooting at the rim.
Shawn Marion: Starting Small Forward: 6'7, 7.0 rebounds per game, 0.66 blocks per game, allows 51.4% opponent shooting at the rim.
Sam Dalambert: Center: 7'1, 6.1 rebounds per game, 1.11 blocks per game, allows 52.1% opponent shooting at the rim.
Brandan Wright: Forward / Center: 6'11, 4.3 rebounds per game, 0.89 blocks per game, allows 55.1% opponent shooting at the rim.
The Mavericks have poor wing defenders in Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Vince Carter, and Jae Crowder, and no one protecting the rim behind them, one of the reasons they sit 22nd in the NBA in defensive rating.
That they have a good record is mostly due to their offense, with Dirk Nowitzki (21.2) and Monta Ellis (20.0) providing an elite one two scoring punch, with no other Maverick averaging over 12 per game.
What to watch for: Cleveland Cavaliers
In the last 6 games, the Cavaliers are averaging 106.2 points per game, and this one looks to continue the trend. The Cavs have been looking to run, and this game should provide them with a good opportunity. As long as they keep the turnovers down and move the ball, the Mavericks roster will be more than happy to give them plenty of good looks at the hoop.
On defense, it's critical that the Cavs minimize the damage the Mavs supporting cast can inflict. Jose Calderon is shooting 45% from behind the three point line on almost 6 attempts per game, so keeping track of him when Dirk and Monta have the ball will be a major task. Save Brandan Wright and Monta Ellis, they aren't very athletic. Save Calderon and Dirk they don't have any great shooters.
Fear The Sword's Fearless Prediction:
The Cavaliers continue their hot offensive streak and punish the Mavs, 121 - 109.
Or they lose by 30. That wouldn't be shocking either.