The Dallas Mavericks picked up their 16th win of the season Wednesday night against the Knicks. They won’t have long to bask in the glow of victory, however, as they head a few miles north to Oklahoma City for a showdown against the Thunder.
This will be the second of three back to backs in January for the Mavs after having four in December. Worth noting: Dallas is 0-5 so far on the second night of these back to backs. An older team already facing health issues has little margin for error, and fighting off fatigue will undoubtedly be a factor. However, the Thunder are also on the second night of a back to back, having just defeated the Pelicans. Which brings us to...
Against New Orleans on Wednesday, Thunder star Russell Westbrook notched his 23rd triple-double of the season and the 60th of his career, passing Larry Bird (think about that for a moment). Westbrook may not have gotten the All-Star nod, but make no mistake: he is balling out of his mind right now. Plus, there’s surely no love lost between Westbrook and the Mavs, who have faced the Thunder three times in the playoffs since the team arrived in OKC, including last year’s series. You may also remember Mark Cuban saying something about Russell not being a "superstar". Oh boy.
Seriously, who is even going to play?
I feel like I have to write this every preview, but who is actually available for Dallas will be a question. Deron Williams left the game against New York with a sprained toe, and it’s been reported that he will not travel with the team to OKC. This leaves Dallas painfully thin at guard, with J.J. Barea already out and Wes Matthews set to miss a second straight game. Get ready for lots of Pierre Jackson.
How to watch
Tip-off gets underway at 7:00pm Central on TNT.