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News » Mavericks-Timberwolves Preview 2009-11-13

Mavericks-Timberwolves Preview 2009-11-13

Mavericks-Timberwolves Preview 2009-11-13The Dallas Mavericks failed to take advantage of an undermanned opponent in their last contest. If they fail to take advantage of a much weaker undermanned opponent Friday night, their fans might feel like hitting the panic button.

The Mavericks venture into Minnesota, where they will try to continue their multi-year run of dominance over a Timberwolves club that has lost eight straight and will be playing without leading scorer Al Jefferson.

Dallas (5-3) fell 92-83 at rival San Antonio on Wednesday. The Spurs were playing without injured stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, but woeful shooting hurt the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki finished with a team-high 29 points but shot 9 for 27, while Josh Howard went 2 for 11 from the floor as Dallas shot 35.4 percent as a team after exceeding 55 percent in winning its previous two games.

"I probably took a couple of shots that I shouldn't have taken," Nowitzki said. "But hey, we still had a chance."

The Timberwolves (1-8) may have no chance against Dallas, especially without Jefferson to contend with Nowitzki in the paint. Jefferson, the team's leading scorer at 15.1 points per game despite working his way back from February surgery to repair a torn right ACL, will miss this contest and Saturday's game at Memphis after leaving the club to be with an ill family member in Florida.

His absence will stretch even thinner a club already missing its other top rebounder, Kevin Love, due to a broken hand suffered during the preseason.

"The only thing I didn't foresee was Kevin breaking his hand," first-year coach Kurt Rambis said of his team's slow start. "Everything else I understood was going to be a process. Everybody else is looking like, 'Oh my goodness they don't get it nine games into the season.'

"Whereas I'm looking at this as a one-, two-, three-year process for guys to really even sort of get a grasp on what we're talking about where they feel comfortable with what we're asking them to do."

Minnesota's quest to beat Dallas has already been more than a three-year process. The Mavericks have won 12 consecutive meetings with the Timberwolves since a 91-78 loss in Minnesota on Jan. 4, 2006. If the Mavs extend that run to 13 on Friday, they'll match San Antonio's streak against New Jersey for the longest active run of dominance by one NBA team over an opponent.

Though the series has been lopsided, the individual games have not always been that way. Seven of the last 12 meetings between these teams have been decided by 10 points or fewer.

Nowitzki is averaging 24.5 points during Dallas' winning streak in this series.

Minnesota had three losing streaks of eight or more last season, including a 13-game skid Nov. 29-Dec. 23. The current slide continued Wednesday with a 107-84 home loss to Portland. Rookie guard Jonny Flynn continued to be a bright spot for the Timberwolves, scoring a team-high 15 points - matching his season average - and adding six rebounds.

Despite that effort, Minnesota's last three losses have come by a combined margin of 87 points.

"That's one thing about dealing with a young team, when your head gets down, it's hard to pick it back up," Jefferson said. "Right now, we're letting teams hit us and we're not hitting back. Most teams hit back. We're getting hit and not even hitting back."

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Added: November 13, 2009


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