Match-Up with the Mavs
Tonight Atlanta will try to become the first team to sweep the Mavericks this season. Dallas has beaten 26 out of 29 teams and still has a game left against Portland (Blazers have beaten Dallas twice) and has yet to play Chicago (home/away still on the schedule).
When the Hawks beat the Mavericks in Dallas earlier this season they were coming off a frustrating loss to the Knicks at home. Atlanta struggled from the field (36% FG%) but worked hard on defense to hold Dallas to just 75 points on the way to a five-point win. Joe and Dirk dominated the scoring, finishing with 31 and 32, respectively.
This game is different. The Mavericks team is different. Newly acquired Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler both are expected to start for the Mavs. Dallas has won five games in a row, and their most recent victory was over the defending champion Lakers. While the Hawks don’t have a tough loss to use as motivation, focus and effort should not be a problem for tonight’s national broadcast on ESPN.
After tonight the Hawks will play 9-out-of-10 games against Eastern Conference opponents with the lone Western Conference match-up with the Golden State Warriors at the Highlight Factory. A win could springboard Atlanta into a nice stretch of wins that would make the fourth quarter collapse in Oakland a distant memory.
Match up of two of the NBA’s best 6th Men:
A look at this year’s stats from Jamal Crawford and the Mavs Jason Terry.