Dallas Mavericks (25-18) at Toronto Raptors (20-20): 3 keys to rediscovering winning

The Toronto Raptors are home to contend against a team with more than a few familiar faces. The Dallas Mavericks give prominent roles to the beloved Jose Calderon, Shawn Marion, who wasn’t around long enough to get emotional about… and Vince Carter, who was. The Raps’ season began its upswing with an OT victory in Dallas, and our guys could certainly use another big win to stop some recent bleeding.

Jan 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) congratulates teammate guard Jose Calderon (8) against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Big D in Dallas is truly Dirk Nowitzki, who’s been a legitimate superstar for many years. At 35, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, and his unofficial title of “best outside shooting big man ever” certainly won’t get any quarrel from me. His ability to drain long jumpers with a defender all over him beggars belief. Calderon led the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage last season, but has tumbled all the way to fourth, at 45.1% – what a bum. Marion is an all-purpose swingman who grabs a ton of rebounds, has a funky jump shot, and is a fierce defender. Monta Ellis is a cold-blooded scoring machine who will use his mid-range jump shot to set up his speedy drives to the basket. Keeping this guy under 20 points will be difficult. His only offensive shortcoming is weak shooting from beyond the arc. Defensively he can be exploited. Samuel Dalembert at centre is more presence than results; he’s a shot-changer more than a shot-blocker, a mediocre rebounder for a man of his size, and has little offensive impact.

The Mavs’ bench is where Vince come off of these days. We’re also likely to see bangers Jae Crowder and DeJuan Blair.

The Raps can win this game if they:

  • rediscover the virtues of balanced scoring. I’d like to see some isolation plays run for  Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas very early. A basket or two from  those guys will help them relax and get in the flow.
  • exploit Calderon’s defensive shortcomings. Kyle Lowry should be able to blow by the defensively challenged Jose almost at will, get in the paint, and pass or shoot.
  • keep Monta Ellis under wraps. That’s a tough assignment, but TRoss has the speed and hands to do it.

Dallas scores and surrenders over a hundred points a game on average. If the Raps can keep their offense from reaching the century, a win is possible. Let’s assume the Raps will break off their mini-losing streak with a 103-98 win.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.

 

Topics: Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors

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  • Rudra Rishy-Maharaj

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see the Charlotte game, but I did see the games against the Celtics,TWolves, and Lakers. In as much as Dwayne Casey says they can’t think they’re the hunted, they gave to admit the league has taken notice of the improved play and those teams are upping their game against the Raptors. They have to continue to up their game. What got them here won’t keep them here. And, they can’t play like they’ve got any game won. It seemed that’s the way they played in the 3 games prior to Charlotte. They should have won all 4, instead they are 1and 3.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Rudra:
      I was at the Lakers game, and it was maddening to watch. Blowing 2 huge leads….yuck. I completely agree with your statement “what got them [the Raptors] here won’t keep them here”. Toronto won’t surprise anyone anymore; they must improve, and have the potential to do so.
      Thanks for commenting.