What have the Warriors done lately?
The Warriors just returned home after looking oddly mortal on an East Coast road trip. Their record stands at 47-12, but the Warriors are a mere 4-3 in their last seven games. Considering their clean bill of health, the Warriors' recent swoon could be attributed to midseason doldrums. Nonetheless, the Warriors have returned home where they have lost only one game since Nov. 11. Oracle is a fortress that allows no intruder to escape with a win.
Which Warrior is most likely to go off on the Mavs tonight?
Steph. The answer is always Steph. If you remember the Mavs last visit to Oracle Arena, Stephen Curry turned into a human flamethrower and torched the Mavs for 51 points. The Mavs were without Rondo in that game, but Curry's shooting should still strike an incredible amount of fear into the Mavs. Rondo and Harris need to constantly attack to make Curry work on the defensive end. It may benefit the Mavs to pick up Rondo full court for a large portion of the game. Curry is a threat to score or create for others as soon as he crosses half court. These kind of matchups are exactly why Rajon Rondo is here. As much as we've complained about the Rondo experience on offense, he can prove his worth by stifling elite point guards.
Monta Ellis started his 11-year career with the Golden State Warriors. In his time with the Mavs, Monta's performance against the Warriors has been uneven. He's averaging 17.5 points a game against the Warriors. As of late, Monta has struggled from the floor because of a lingering hip injury. In his last eight games, Monta is only averaging 15 points a game on 39 percent shooting. Rondo's adverse effect on the spacing has played a role in Monta's decline, but it's been clear that he doesn't have his usual explosion. The Warriors concede mid-range jumpers at a high rate to prevent more efficient shots. This is where Monta will need to find his baskets.
How do the Mavs win this game?
If Dirk can put on a throwback performance then the Mavs might have a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, vintage Dirk performances are few and far between nowadays. Dirk just hasn't been able to commandeer games in the way he has his entire career. There are very few power forwards in the league who can punish Draymond Green. Dirk can still be one of those guys. If Dirk can force Steve Kerr to play David Lee more minutes, then the Mavs have a better chance at piercing the frenzied Warrior defense.
Tonight's game will be on TNT at 9:30 p.m. Central Time.