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Mavericks vs. Rockets preview: Can Dallas slow down the Beard and Brewer?

Houston comes to town for their final regular season showdown with Dallas.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What have the Rockets done lately?

It should come as no surprise that the Houston Rockets are doing well. They won in a somewhat close game on Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings. However, the Rockets did grant themselves a decent lead heading into the fourth.

In their last 10 games they are 8-2 with their only jarring loss coming at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. DeMar DeRozan erupted for 42 points in that contest.

Which Houston player might be due for a big game?

When I'm not trolling the Internet with a solid April Fools post, you can find me talking about Corey Brewer. It's actually my favorite thing to do because he is my favorite player in the NBA. I love when my friends text me and say, "I hate having to say you're right but GOOD GOD DAMN COREY BREWER." It's things like this that really make me smile ... but my smile can never compete with Brewer's smile. He really has the best smile on Earth. Like, for real. Tyson Chandler is in second so don't worry.

Anyway, Brewer comes off the bench for the Rockets. Unless Parsons is cooking, which he may be against his former team, Brewer's role should remain unchanged against Dallas. However, Brewer see a lot of time with the starters out there because of his ability to impact the game. He rebounds, he steals, he dunks, he shoots corner 3s, he gets out on the fastbreak, he kind of defends, he wears a headband, he smiles, it dives, he drops dimes, he disrupts spacing. He does everything the Mavs need in a player. Oh, wait, didn't they have him? *shots fired*

Brewer is going to be a handful for Dallas. I could say some other Rockets player is going to go off but I'm not sure that any exist that haven't won a ring with the Mavs or the Lakers.

Which team stat might determine the game?

Oh, it'll be free throws. Over the last 10 games, not including the meeting with OKC, the Mavs are averaging 23.5 free throw attempts per game. That's almost a two attempt increase from their season average. However, they are facing James Harden. For the season, Harden averages 10.1 FTA not including Wednesday's game against the Kings. In the last 10 games, though, Harden is averaging 13.5 FTA per game. And while he is only averaging 9.7 FTA against the Mavs this season, he when to the line 13 times in his one game in Dallas.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Rockets?

It would really be great if they could keep Harden off the line. Besides that, they need to stop him from scoring all the points. It would also be great if Dwight Howard didn't have any plays that allowed him to make that smug smile that he really likes to do. Everyone hates that smile, Dwight.

Dallas really just needs to play inspired ball and be competitive on the boards. The Mavs have the firepower to compete with Houston's shooting but they can't allow for any lapses.

Time & TV

7:30pm CT on FSSW