Preview: Jazz at Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are undefeated at home and the Utah Jazz are winless on the road as the two squads meet in Dallas on Friday. The Mavericks have opened a season with six consecutive home wins for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign and the success has helped springboard Dallas to a strong 8-4 start. Utah is 0-7 on the road, with five of the losses coming by double digits, and has the worst record in the NBA.
The Dallas duo of Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis has been thriving and the two combined for 72 points in Wednesday’s 123-120 victory over the Houston Rockets. Ellis scored a season-best 37 points and Nowitzki also had a season-best with 35 points in the latest example of the two meshing as teammates. “He’s been aggressive, he’s been shooting the ball well, but what’s great is that he has been making plays for others,” Nowitzki said. “He’s making all of us better.” The Jazz fell to New Orleans on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game trip that concludes Sunday in Oklahoma City.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ROOT (Utah), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE JAZZ (1-12): First-round pick Trey Burke made his NBA debut against the Pelicans and impressed with 11 points in 12 minutes. The consensus college player of the year at Michigan last season missed the first 12 games with a broken finger. The Jazz have lacked a playmaking point guard during Burke’s absence and coach Tyrone Corbin plans to increase Burke’s minutes against Dallas and eventually insert him in the starting lineup. Burke made 5-of-8 shots against the Pelicans and didn’t commit a turnover.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (8-4): Ellis is averaging 23.3 points and threatening to supplant Nowitzki as the team’s leading scorer. Nowitzki has led Dallas in scoring in each of the last 13 seasons since Michael Finley averaged 22.6 points to Nowitzki’s 17.5 in 1999-2000. Nowitzki is averaging 20.6 points after making 13-of-20 shots against Houston while Ellis made 13-of-18 shots to go with eight assists. “If me and Dirk are going like that, the other teams have a problem,” Ellis said.
1. Dallas has won 19 of its last 22 home games against Utah.
2. Jazz G Gordon Hayward went 1-for-17 from the field against New Orleans to supplant Karl Malone’s 1-of-16 outing in 2002 as the worst shooting performance in franchise history.
3. Mavericks F Shawn Marion (groin) is questionable after being injured in Wednesday’s game.
PREDICTION: Mavericks 113, Jazz 88