What has Cleveland done lately?
Since January 15, the Cavaliers have been on a tear. They have posted a record of 21-5 in that time and are 7-3 since the All-Star break. In that time, the duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving has been filling the box score. James is averaging 26.1 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 6.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and two steals since the All-Star break. Irving is putting up 19.6 points on 45.2 percent shooting, 1.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in the same time frame.
Oh, right, and there's also Kevin Love. He's scoring 16.3 points on 43.9 percent shooting and averaging 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists since the All-Star break. He's also shooting 42.9 percent from behind the arc.
What's the biggest matchup to watch?
Well, I've done my due diligence and mentioned all the big ticket names on the Cavs, so how will the Mavs defend them? Well, that's simple: Al-Farouq Aminu. Yep, it's going to be Aminu versus the field. He'll see time guarding both James and Love. In most 5-man lineups featuring Aminu since the All-Star break, the team is posting an impressive defensive rating. While that cannot solely be contributed to Aminu's presence on the floor, he has a personal defensive rating of 97.6 since the break. He'll likely get plenty of playing time Tuesday night.
As for Irving, well, Rajon Rondo draws the task of slowing him down. Rondo isn't playing particularly thrilling defense of late but with the status of Devin Harris still questionable (at the time of this writing), Rondo is the only guard capable of defending Irving.
Which team stat might determine the game?
Turnovers should be a major factor in tonight's game. Even though Rondo is prone to turning the ball over about 20 percent of the time, the Mavericks still rank near the top of the league in committing the fewest turnovers. They are also one of the best teams at forcing turnovers. Conversely, the Cavaliers cough up the ball an average of 14 times per game, or about 13 percent of their possessions. Cleveland also doesn't force many turnovers.
What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Cavs?
If the Mavs enter the game at full strength, they have a shot at an upset. However, that's a big if. The Cavaliers are more athletic than the Mavs at virtually every position. They also have the best basketball player in the world on their roster. It also doesn't help that the Mavs are playing at home.
The #Mavs are 21-10 at home. It's the worst home record among the 8 Western Conference teams currently in the playoffs if it started today.— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) March 9, 2015
In reality, Dallas is going to need some help from Lady Luck if they hope to win.
7:30 PM on FSSW and NBAtv