The Dallas Mavericks take on the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night at Staples Center in a matchup of two of the NBA‘s top teams. Both teams matched up recently with the Lakers to the tune of very different outcomes. The Clips are still riding high after their victory in the Battle of Los Angeles Saturday while the Mavs have been sitting idle in L.A. since MLK Day, when they lost on a Derek Fisher three-pointer in the final seconds.
The game itself is a matchup of two of the best “power” forwards in the league, though I doubt they will guard each other much. Dirk Nowitzki is a shooter in a center’s body and is coming off a very bad shooting night Monday. I look for him to be the game’s highest scorer in this contest. Blake Griffin, though possessing plenty of power in his game, really has the game of a shooting guard. He likes to face-up guys, put the ball between his legs a bit, and then sky to the basket. Occasionally he’ll throw a spin-move in there just to keep opposing bigmen guessing. The problem for Blake in this game will be the health of point guard Chris Paul. CP3 is listed as day-to-day after straining his hamstring at the end of the Laker game. Even if Chris does play, he will be limited by what is one of the more scary injuries in the league. Re-injuring a hamy could mean weeks of time on the bench. Either way, it won’t be ‘Lob City’ Wednesday night…not without a healthy Paul. As a result, I don’t expect Griffin to have a big game in the boxscore.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, are destined to shoot the ball well after that 70-point debacle in L.A. Monday night (the Lakers only managed 73, mind you). They should shoot the ball better than the Clippers, considering that they might see some of Rick Carlisle‘s zone defense as the game goes on as well. I look for Dallas to win Wednesday’s matchup, as they’ve been sitting around their hotel rooms grumpy for 2 days surrounded by Laker hype. The Clips didn’t trail once versus the Nets on Monday, nor against the Lakers Saturday. I think the Mavs will lead from start to finish, taking advantage of the day off in between games. The Clips will have little rest coming off of their Tuesday loss in Utah, though the starters sat most of the 4th qtr in a 108-79 blowout.
Expect a spicy matchup Wednesday night in the ‘City of Angels’…I’m thinking Cuban.
UPDATE: (3:56 PST) Dirk Nowitzki is questionable with a cold and reserve swingman Vince Carter is out w/ a sprained left foot. If Dirk is out this could tip the game heavily in favor of the host Clippers.
(6:53 PST) Chris Paul out tonight (hamstring)
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