Is Dwight Powell the next coming of Hakeem Olajuwon?
Not quite, but Powell played really well in the first leg of the Mavs-Nuggets matchup. Powell had 11 points on 5-8 shooting and wasn't a complete train wreck on defense.
The absence of Brandan Wright left a huge hole behind behind Tyson Chandler. Greg Smith has filled the role, but his performance leaves more to be desired. Powell brought the energy and athleticism that Smith lacks.
Nothing Powell did against the Nuggets appeared to be unsustainable, which is a promising sign. There's a lot to be said about a rookie who knows where to be on both ends and plays hard. '
How will starters who rested the previous game affect this game?
Rajon Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler were all held out in the first meeting with the Nuggets due to rest.Kenneth Faried was a nuisance on the boards all night with 23. Tyson should negates Faried's energy and close the 11 rebound deficit the Mavs had.
When Faried wasn't crashing the boards, Ty Lawson was dicing up anyone the Mavs put in front of him. Lawson had 29 points and 12 assists on 9-13 from the field. He stymied the Mavs repeated comeback attempts with layups and cagey stepback jumpers. Rondo's on-ball defense should go a long way in negating Lawson's effectiveness. Rondo's length should bother Lawson who stands only at 5'11.
Although Dirk has struggled with his jumper recently, his presence should restore order to the Mavs offense. Dirk's gravity provides driving lanes for the Mavs' brigade of attacking guards. Without Dirk, the Mavs' have to rely more on set plays instead of their usual flow offense.
How much all will Monta have?
Monta had his worse statistical game of the season on Wednesday with 5 points on 1-11 shooting. Carlisle admitted after the game that he should have rested Monta with the rest of the starters; he looked completely exhausted.
Denver's interior defense was shaky for long stretches of the first matchup. Monta should be able to generate clean looks at the basket. Since the Rondo trade, Monta has been a 38 percent three point shooter. Look for him to get a couple looks from beyond the arc against this disjointed Nuggets defense.
Can Antoine Wright ruin this game?
Game info: 7:30 p.m. CT at the American Airlines Center on Fox Sports Southwest