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Mavericks Ready to Face "The Jazz"

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The Mavericks look to win their eighth straight at home when they face the "Utah Jazz" on Wednesday night. Dallas surged into the break with the fourth-best record in the NBA. The Mavericks are second in the West, six games behind San Antonio. The Mavs will be facing a different Jazz team as Deron Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets. Devin Harris and Derrick Favors were the two major players from the Nets that are being sent to the Utah Jazz. Within a span of weeks, the Jazz have lost their franchise point guard and their Hall-of-Fame Coach, Jerry Sloan. "Jerry is one of the all-time greats," said Carlisle. "What he's accomplished there is mind-boggling to most of us that have been in this a while so we wish him the best."

It remains to be seen who will actually be out on the floor for the Jazz, but Rick Carlisle knows that the Jazz will be ready to play. "Whoever they put out here is going to be ready to play, I know that," Carlisle said. "If you watched Denver (Tuesday) without any players, with only eight guys, they kicked the (expletive) out of Memphis and Memphis is a good team. Regardless of who steps on the floor, we've got our game and we've got to play well." The Nuggets beat the Grizzles, 120-107, in their first game with Carmelo Anthony.

Carlisle understands the nature of the trade deadline, but he also knows that it can be quite a challenge when you are looking to make a deal that makes sense. "Good deals are hard to make this time of year because everyone wants to make a steal," Carlisle said. "You want to trade for a player, they want your pants in return so it's hard."

Dallas has won both meetings with Utah this season and took the most recent one 103-97 at the American Airlines Center on December 11 (Seats for Solders Night). Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points and 15 rebounds and has averaged 29.8 points and 8.6 boards in his last eight games against the Jazz.

The Mavericks have the tough task of facing the unknown in the Jazz. The Mavericks will do everything they can to avoid a major letdown. "You can’t overlook them," Jason Kidd said. "We’re all professionals and those guys over there are going to be prepared to play. They’ve always played hard, no matter who’s playing. We played them up in Utah a year ago or two years ago and they didn’t have any of their starters play and we still lost. We’ve got to come out and take care of business."

Tyson Chandler echoed the thought and made sure to note what the Mavericks are really worried about as they finish the last 26 games of the regular season. "We have to make sure we don’t have a letdown from what we’re focusing on," Chandler said. "It’s not the Utah Jazz. It’s about the Dallas Mavericks."

Jason Terry made sure to let everyone know that the team is just ready to step on the court and face an opponent. "I don’t care if John Stockton and Karl Malone come out here tonight," Terry said. "We’re hungry. We’ve been off six days. We want to play somebody. We’re just excited for the challenge."

The challenge begins at 7:30 pm CST as the Mavericks and the Jazz start the second half of the season.


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