Timberwolves at Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month and go for their third straight victory when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Dallas routed the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday to notch back-to-back victories for the first time since winning three straight from Dec. 6-10. Minnesota fell to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday for its third straight loss and ninth in 13 games.
The Timberwolves are hindered by injuries with the biggest loss being All-Star forward Kevin Love (broken hand) as they conclude a four-game road trip. Minnesota is also without coach Rick Adelman, whose wife is ill. Assistant coach Terry Porter is serving as interim coach. Dallas played superbly against Memphis to record just its fourth victory over a team with a winning record all season. “It’s the kind of game we need,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “We need more of these, but they’re hard to come by.” Minnesota is 2-0 against Dallas this season.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Fox Sports Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (16-18): Minnesota’s lengthy slide is taking its toll and the Timberwolves have lost the first three games of the road trip by an average of 17.3 points. The topic keeps turning to how shorthanded Minnesota has been and guard Luke Ridnour has heard enough. “I’m tired of hearing that,” Ridnour said after the 18-point loss to the Spurs. “Guys out – so what? Everyone’s got guys out. We have to find a way to win a game. Whether guys are in or out, we still have to play 48 minutes. We’re all professionals.” Point guard Ricky Rubio missed all six shots against San Antonio and is shooting just 18.2 percent (6 of 33) in nine games. Rubio missed the beginning of the season after knee surgery and later missed time due to back spasms.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (15-23): Forward Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 18 points over the last six games while rounding into form. Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of the season after October knee surgery and was just a shadow of his All-Star self over his first five appearances. He has started the last six games and scored at least 15 points in each of them. Forward Shawn Marion has put together season-high scoring games in each of the last two contests. He had 19 points against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday before tallying 20 against the Grizzlies.
1. Minnesota has won four of the last five meetings with Dallas.
2. The Mavericks were 11-of-17 from 3-point range against Memphis.
3. Timberwolves C Nikola Pekovic is averaging 20.5 points against the Mavericks this season.