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News » Raptors-Mavericks Preview 2009-11-07

Raptors-Mavericks Preview 2009-11-07

Raptors-Mavericks Preview 2009-11-07The Dallas Mavericks know they blew a chance to get their fourth straight win in their last game. A home matchup with the Toronto Raptors appears to give them a good opportunity to bounce back.

The Mavericks look to rebound from a disheartening defeat with their 10th straight home win over the Raptors on Saturday night.

After a season-opening loss to Washington, Dallas (3-2) won three straight, including a road victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and a dramatic comeback win over Utah.

That streak came to an end Wednesday night, when Dallas blew a late lead of its own and eventually fell 114-107 in overtime at New Orleans. The Mavericks had a 97-94 lead and the ball with 10 seconds left but couldn't hold on. They missed four free throws in the final 14 seconds of regulation and gave up 17 points in overtime.

"It's a lost opportunity," said reserve guard Jason Terry, who scored a season-high 35 points but missed two free throws toward the end of regulation and went 2 for 6 from the field in overtime.

"The key things we talk about all of the time and the little things ... free throws, getting out on shooters and fouling when we are up three. Those things are what championship teams do. Obviously, we're not there yet. We'll learn from this."

The Mavericks have had no trouble closing out home games against the Raptors (3-2) lately. Dallas has won nine straight at home against Toronto by an average of 11.8 points since the Raptors' 109-104 win Dec. 30, 1999. Overall, the Mavericks have won 16 of 19 in the series since that defeat.

Playing its first back-to-back games of the season, Toronto earned its first road win in the opener Friday night. Chris Bosh scored 27 points and the Raptors used a 27-4 run in the third quarter to take control en route to a 107-90 victory over New Orleans.

Hedo Turkoglu added 16 points with four 3-pointers as the Raptors went 14 for 29 (48.3 percent) from behind the arc.

"We are feeling more comfortable with each other each game," said Turkoglu, in his first year with Toronto after helping Orlando reach the NBA finals last season. "We know where everybody wants to get the ball."

In addition to their developing chemistry on offense, the Raptors feel their defense was key to beating the Hornets. They gave up a season-low 90 points, including only 14 in the third quarter.

"It really started on defense," Turkoglu said. "We got stops and rebounds. We've been great offensively since they built the team, but we were helping each other on defense tonight."

The Toronto defense could have its hands full with Dirk Nowitzki on Saturday. Nowitzki, held to a season-low 12 points and 4-for-15 shooting in Wednesday's loss, recorded a double-double as Dallas won both meetings with Toronto last season.

Not including a game he left in the first quarter because of blurred vision, Nowitzki has averaged 28.1 points and 10.0 rebounds while shooting 50.3 percent from the field in his last eight contests against the Raptors.

Bosh, who starred at Lincoln High School in Dallas, is still looking for his first win in his hometown. He's averaged 22.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in six career games in Dallas.

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Added: November 7, 2009


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