Basketball goes into overdrive; Dallas plays 9 games in the next 14 days. I couldn't be happier that basketball is really here. I hope all of you are ready.
Dallas plays its first home game after a road trip with some delightful highs and maddening lows against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats start their season tonight against the Indiana Pacers then immediately jump on a plane to head to Texas for their first back to back of the season. A two day break for Dallas means there was plenty of time to look at what worked against LA and Utah as well as what they need to improve on.
Look for the Bobcats to throw the kitchen sink at Dallas. With talent gaps at every single position against Dallas, I expect Charlotte to use the press defense early and often in an attempt to fluster the Dallas guards and push the tempo in their favor. The main goal for Charlotte this season is to learn and improve as a team and individual players. Unlike Utah, however, the Bobcats do not possess an intimidating and talented front line with which to protect the basket. I expect Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo to be able to handle any pressure from Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon, Jeffery Taylor or whoever Coach Mike Dunlap chooses to start in the back court. Though it's not clear whether Chris Kaman will return Saturday, Wright, Brand, and Marion should be able to deal with the Charlotte front court, most likely Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo, and Byron Mullins.
I fully expect the Maverick emphasis to be on rebounding, rebounding, and more rebounding. Hopefully the team can also rid itself of the frustrating and developing habit of going to long, contested two point shots whenever the offense breaks down. Expect Carlisle to play much of the bench again; with so many games in the next two weeks distributing minutes is important, particularly for warhorses like Shawn Marion. O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand need to rediscover their offense and the Bobcats may be just the team to play against for that to happen. Collison will continue to press and attack and make all of us very happy. Crowder and Vince Carter should also rebound from rough games against Utah as well. Hopefully Roddy Beaubois will be given a bit more freedom against Charlotte, though if they do use the press I'll be forced to temper my expectations some; Roddy's mistakes often compound and pressure on the ball far away from the basket could result in turnovers for Roddy. I also have no expectations for Troy Murphy, either. This entire situation with this particular roster spot is vexing.
What do you want to see out of Dallas Saturday night?