BROOKLYN – When the Dallas Mavericks hosted the Brooklyn Nets in Dallas on Mar. 10, the home team struggled before pulling out a 105-96 victory at American Airlines Center.
And that victory came while the Nets were without their leading scorer – center Brook Lopez – who sat out that game with an ankle injury.
However, when the Mavs (29-39) and Nets (13-55) collide at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Barclays Center, Lopez will be back in the lineup for Brooklyn. And that could spell trouble for the Mavs.
"You can argue he’s their best player,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "He’s certainly one of the top two.
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"So with him being back in the mix it presents a big challenge with not only his post up game, but his 3-point shooting. He’s made a lot of threes this year, he’s taken more than anybody on their team."
Lopez averages team highs in points (20.6) and blocked shots (1.7), and also is dragging down 5.1 rebounds per contest. In addition, the nine-year veteran has converted 47.1 percent of his field goals and is shooting 35.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
"He’s a very good shooter, and inside he’s a monster,’’ Carlisle said. "So we’re going to have to be real aggressive with how we play him.
"We’re going to have to find him at the 3-point line, and it’s going to be work.’’