Game 48 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks

Of course the schedule makers had to get the Rockets back. They gave us a team on the second half of a back-to-back. We should have known they would demand a sacrifice.

Enter the Dallas Mavericks. On the road. The night after a home game.

There are the schedule makers we all know and love. But at least then the schedule clears up considerably, with tons of home games against weak Eastern Conference teams, like...

Wait a minute.

I've just been informed that our schedule continues to get worse. We're at Dallas tonight. Then Saturday we get the San Antonio Spurs in their building. Then on Tuesday it's off to LA to face the Lakers, then one night later (of course), we travel to (guess where?) Salt Lake City, where the worst fans in the world reside, people who can make a laid back guy like me want to break stuff. Anything in the vicinity.

But tonight it's the Mavs. They lost Caron Butler for the season, and Dirk was out for a while too.

They are my second most hated team in the NBA. Mark Cuban stole that first round series from us, Jason Terry has a religious belief that never allows him to miss against us, and Dirk gets every foul call ever. For crying out loud, he ran right into Carl Landry (whose feet were set outside the semi-circle) and chipped his teeth. Foul on Landry, Dirk to the line. At least I know the Mavs will never win an NBA title with Mark Cuban because David Stern despises the man. This is one of the only things I like about the commissioner.

Jump around!

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Jason Kidd:

The Rockets face a Team USA point guard. Kidd is still a do-everything point guard, and his passing is as sharp as it's ever been. 8/9/5 is great from a guy who's 37 years old.

Hopefully, Lowry and Brooks can play like that, with the same consistency some day. I mean, just when I was about to write off Aaron Brooks, he goes and plays well. What the hell guys? Someone just step up consistently. Please?

Advantage: Mavs

SG: Kevin Martin vs. DeShawn Stevenson: 

Stevenson starts, but Jason Terry gets the majority of the minutes here. And I hate Jason Terry. I hate him a ton. I just wish just once when he hit a three pointer and pretended that he was flying around that someone would just deck him. I would pay the fine like that player a lot.

According to my stats, Terry averages 200 points per game against the Rockets, on 193% shooting from the field, and an incredible 632% from behind the three-point line. He also loves to score in the fourth quarter. That's when we have to stop him.

Advantage: Jason Terry

SF: Shane Battier vs. Sasha Pavlovic

What is it with Rick Carlisle and starting guys but not finishing them. Pavlovic will start, but only averages 15 minutes per game. Shawn Marion will get the bulk of the minutes.

I never really like Marion, and I'm not going to start now. The Mavs wasted money on him, but apparently they never have to deal with the salary cap, as every season at the trade deadline Mark Cuban is able to seemingly shed all the BS contracts he has for serviceable players, whom he promptly gives too much money to afterwards. Hello, Brendan Haywood.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Dirk Nowitzki:

He's been injured, but guess who Dirk has been saving his best game for? You got it, the Houston Rockets!

As for the advantage, which guy would you rather have?

Advantage: Mavs

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Tyson Chandler:

10/9 with a couple of blocks, plus a bunch of altered shots? I'll take that all day from my center. In the NBA, you only need a decent center to contend, and the Mavs have found one who's playing his best ball right now. And, he's young. Scary. If the Rockets can get him in foul trouble, we'll have a chance.

Chandler is the kind of center Chuck Hayes cannot defend. He thrives when he's guarding guys in the post who want the ball, but players like Chandler that only exists to clean up the offensive glass and dunk will kill him.

Advantage: Mavs

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Bench:

Mavs: JJ Barea (aka The Gnat), Jason Terry (Rocket killer), Shawn Marion, Ian Mahinmi, Brendan Haywood

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney LeeJordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson

Advantage: The bench that doesn't feature Rockets players

Injuries:

Mavs: Caron Butler out, Roddy Beaubois out

Rockets: Brad Miller still out

Prediction: Looks bleak

Rockets vs Mavericks coverage

Mavs Moneyball

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