Dallas Mavericks: Week 14 Preview

The Mavericks enter week 14 with a record of 26-20 and they remain entrenched in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. The Mavericks won two of four games in week 13, but they cannot continue to have weeks of .500 basketball if they expect to hold off a hungry group of teams with their sights set on the Western Conference playoffs.

The Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are all within two games of the Mavericks to begin the week. Dirk Nowitzki addressed the fact that Dallas must string together some wins with so much competition in the Western Conference.

“It’s getting tighter and tighter behind us, we know that. Memphis is really playing well now, and Denver obviously. We need this home stand to really get some momentum again and get some wins together.”

Jan 26, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks point guard Jose Calderon (8) drives to the basket past Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings (7) during the game at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 116-106. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks get a bit of break in week 14 as they only have two games on their schedule. The veteran-laden Mavericks should benefit from the extra days off. The Mavericks only face two teams in week 14 but they both present a similar challenge as you will see below.

Wednesday, Jan. 29 vs. Houston Rockets

The Mavericks welcome the Houston Rockets the American Airlines Center for the second time this season. Dallas overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit en route to a 123-120 win on Nov. 20.

The Rockets enter the week with a 29-17 record and they have the fourth-highest scoring offense in the NBA at 105 points per game. The matchup with the Rockets is a stiff test but with two days off the Mavericks should come into the game well rested. The Rockets, on the other hand, must play at San Antonio the night before.

The Mavericks will only contain Rockets center Dwight Howard to a certain extent, the Rockets big man could have a subpar game and put up 15 points and 15 rebounds against this Mavericks team. For Dallas to slow down the Rockets, they have to limit the open looks that James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones receive.

Jan 22, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) warms up before a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Friday, Jan. 31 vs. Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings may be 15-28 but they are a team the Mavericks cannot afford to take lightly. The Kings easily defeated the Mavericks 112-97 in Sacramento on Dec. 9. Dallas failed to bring the energy and effort it takes to win on the road and the Kings took full advantage. Sacramento put up 34 first-quarter points on Dallas and never they looked back.

The Kings trade for small forward Rudy Gay gives them another weapon to pair with center DeMarcus Cousins and point guard Isaiah Thomas. The Kings are 6-13 on the road but they will not lack confidence against the Mavericks after the way they handled Dallas in their previous matchup.

Containing DeMarcus Cousins will be critical for the Mavericks. His size and strength present a problem that the Mavericks lack an answer for. Cousins put up 32 points and 19 rebounds in their first matchup this season.



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