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DALLAS, TX–Tonight, it’s the home opener for the Dallas Mavericks (2-1), as they take on the Toronto Raptors (3-0) at 7:30 P.M. local time at the American Airlines Center. After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers on the road 103-93 on Sunday night at the Staples Center, the Mavs will look to extend their winning streak to two games to start their three-game home stand. It will be the first game of a four-game road trip for the Raptors, after cruising passed the Milwaukee Bucks, 106-87 at home on Sunday night. A victory tonight would give them their best start in franchise history.

What to Watch For:

Thus far this season, the team has been somewhat of a surprise. After playing the majority of the preseason without their full complement of players no one really knew what to expect from this team. With Wes Matthews, Deron Williams and now, Chandler Parsons, back healthy the potential of this team has really shown. Without ball dominate guards like Monta Ellis and Rajon Rondo, there are more opportunities to share and move the ball around much quicker, leading to open looks. The Mavs are currently fourth in the league in team assists (24.7) and have nine players averaging at least 8.5 points per game.

The Mavs are the crashing the boards like Tyson Chandler never left. The Mavs are sixth in the league with 50.7 rebounds per contest, led behind the stable defensive play of Zaza Pachulia (10.0 RPG) and Dwight Powell (7.3 RPG). And don’t look now, but Raymond Felton is playing some really good basketball for this team and that’s no joke. You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him! OK, so maybe that’s not truly the case, but he’s definitely been a pleasant surprise for the Mavs on offense after getting healthy and his body right this past summer. Through three games, the 10th year guard is second on the team in scoring with 11 points per contest, behind Dirk Nowitzki (17.3 PPG), while dishing out four assists.

But, the key to a victory over the Raptors will be all about how the Mavs defend the backcourt. The Raptors are led by one of the best backcourts in league with DeMar DeRozan (21.0 PPG) and Kyle Lowry (17.3 PPG) running the point. It will be a good test for Wes Matthews, who isn’t quite where he needs to be, but is steadily working his way back into shape. If the Mavs can contain the Raptors backcourt and limit opportunities while continuing to crash the boards, they’ll have a good opportunity to walk away with a victory against a quality NBA opponent.

Game Notes:

  • JaVale McGee (left tibial stress fracture) is out.
  • In Sunday’s victory for the Lakers, head coach Rick Carlisle became the winningest coach in Mavericks’ history passing Don Nelson (339) with win number 340.
  • The Mavericks are 22-13 (.629) all-time in home openers.
  • Party in the Park: The Mavs will be holding a pep rally from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at Klyde Warren Park today. The Mavs Dancers, Drumlines, ManiAACs and Champ will all be in attendance.

On Tap:

November 5, 2015: Dallas Mavericks (2-1) vs Charlotte Hornets (0-3) at 7:30 P.M. at the American Airlines Center. The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Southwest.

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