DALLAS Playing the same team two games in a row has its advantages.
Advantages the Dallas Mavericks hope to take advantage of when they host the Denver Nuggets tonight at 7:30 at American Airlines Center.
The Nuggets just beat the Mavs, 114-107, Wednesday night in Denver. It was a game the Mavs hope to learn from and turn the tables when the two teams face one another again tonight.
“The challenge is they’re good,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Friday morning’s shoot around. “They’ve won five in a row, so they’re a quality team.
“They’ve got Mojo going, they have quickness, they have size, and they have speed. It’s a hard matchup and we’re going to have to be ready from the very beginning of the game and do a better job.’’
One advantage the Mavs will have – or three advantages – is that they will have Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo back in the starting lineup for tonight’s game. All three players missed Wednesday’s game, but went through this morning’s shootaround with no issues.
Nowitzki and Chandler sat out the Denver game so they could rest, since the Mavs also played an overtime game Tuesday night in Sacramento. Meanwhile, Rondo missed the Denver game due to a sore left Achilles.
Chandler also was dealing with a sore left ankle issue after Kings center DeMarcus Cousins fell on him late in Tuesday’s game.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be the following day,’’ Chandler said. “I feel like we’ve got one of the best, if not the best, training staffs in the league.
“They worked on me and I feel good.’’
Not playing Wednesday afforded Chandler, Nowitzki and Rondo the opportunity to sit and watch what the Nuggets were doing to the Mavs. And they saw Ty Lawson (29 points, 12 assists), Kenneth Faried (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Wilson Chandler (15 points, 10 rebounds) all picked up double-doubles in Wednesday’s game.
“You get a lot of scouting, so we got a chance to sit over there and watch and break down the game without having to watch it on film,’’ Chandler said. “So we should have a good perspective coming into the game.’’
A perspective which the Mavs (27-13) hope will earn them a victory in a game that amounts to the midway point of the season for Dallas.
Chandler noted that the Mavs need to limit the Nuggets’ easy buckets, and also control Denver’s hectic fast-break pace.
“I saw some things that their big guys like to do, especially in transition,’’ Chandler said. “When you do rebound the ball, a lot of times because they’re crashing (the boards), they’re behind.
“So we can get some outlet passes and try to get some easy transition buckets.’’