This is a good quote: "If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near."
That was from Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu. He was also a general who led many troops into many battles. He also believed that to be ignorant of yourself and your enemy is doom on the horizon.
DeAndre Jordan, forever the enemy.
Alright, enough of the Chinese philosophies. We need to talk basketball, because this is the one game on the calendar that has been circled since July 8 when Jordan snubbed the Dallas Mavericks to return for the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan and the Clippers come to Dallas for the first time since the DeAndre Debacle, and odds are good that a sold-out American Airlines Center is expected tonight ready to boo the man to oblivion.
This will already be the second time the Mavs and Clippers get together. The two already played on Oct. 29 and the Clippers beat Dallas 104-88. Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons did not play in that game, and who knows who will play tonight after Dallas got beat down 120-105 on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans?
A long night may be ahead. Let's take a look at tonight's matchup.
What do the Mavericks need to do to be successful against the Clippers?
Well, containing the Clippers' Big Three would be a good start.
Lest we forget, Dallas kept the score relatively close back in late October before Los Angeles' talent and athleticism took over in the second half and put the game away by the fourth quarter.
In order to have much better results this time around, albeit a long shot, the Mavericks are going to need to find a way to contain not only Jordan, but Blake Griffin as well. And given the current state of the Mavericks' front court and their lack of athleticism, that's going to be too tough to overcome. Griffin scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first meeting, and Jordan alone had 15 rebounds.
If by some chance Williams and Matthews are not playing tonight, then a Raymond Felton-John Jenkins backcourt is going to be the main attraction and it's going to be a blood bath.
We're talking about a Mavs' backcourt that allowed New Orleans reserve guard Ish Smith to score 17 points and dish out 12 assists off the bench. Toney Douglas and Eric Gordon also found the Fountain of Youth and scored 17 points each on Tuesday.
So it's a mix of Dallas being on a SEGABABA, as well as just not being good at this juncture. The Mavericks won the rebounding battle 55-53 back in October, so that's not an issue. Dallas needs to shoot better than 36 percent from the floor. Simple as that. Do it, and this game should be much closer than the first get-together.
What Clippers player might be due for a big game?
It almost seems like the stars are aligning that this will be a dominant DeAndre Jordan game.
It's his first game in Dallas since turning down the Mavericks. The city of Dallas probably despises him for what he did. The Mavericks are surely going to play this God-awful cartoon during the game and Mark Cuban decides that he'll release the text messages between him and Jordan at some point down the road.
So why wouldn't we expect anything less for Jordan to put up a 15-point, 20-rebound game? The Clippers surely know it's coming, and they're probably preparing their game plan so that Jordan could embarrass the Mavericks at all costs.
All of this is happening, and it just has that reeking smell that Jordan will punk the Mavericks tonight. He was kept quiet offensively on Oct. 29, finishing with only six points, but he also went 2-for-8 from the free throw line because Hack-a-Jordan is a thing and the Mavericks had the bodies to do it.
Expect the Clippers to use more Jordan in pick-and-roll situations towards the rim. There weren't that many opportunities in the earlier meeting. Expect that to happen a lot tonight, and probably a few thunderous dunks while we're at it.
Will we finally move on from DeAndreGate after Wednesday?
Yes, we have to. It's a must. There's no reason to keep looking back on this
I expect three things to happen tonight: A basketball game will be played, there will be a winner and DeAndre Jordan might get booed out of the building, ala LeBron returning to Cleveland for the first time.
But after all the dust has settled, after all the smoke has cleared, for the love of God we need to lay this issue to rest and focus on the final 74 games of the regular season.
ESPN is hyping up this game with, also, a God-awful hype video because damn it everything has to be awful at this point.
May the odds ever be in the Mavs' favor.
Where and when to watch
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Live Stream: WatchESPN