DALLAS, TX–Following a 98-87 road victory over the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks are back at the American Airlines Center to begin a brutal four-game stretch against teams with a combined record of 107-41.
It begins tonight with “King” James and the Cleveland Cavaliers followed by a trip to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder tomorrow night. The Mavs then head to Chicago to face the Bulls on Friday, before rounding out the weekend against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night in the first game of a back-to-back.
It should go without saying, but Lebron James is one of the best, if not the best, player in the NBA. Fourth in the league in scoring at 25.8 points per game, James is putting together another solid season for the East-leading Cavs (26-9).
“They look at me as the leader of this team and I’ve got to be that way all year round,” James said following his season-high tying 37 points in the Cavaliers victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
His individual success will likely continue tonight against the Mavs unless they can finally find a way to stop him. In his seven games against Dallas since the Miami Heat’s 2011 Game 6 loss in the NBA Finals, James is averaging 31.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists on 66 percent shooting.
For the Mavericks, they couldn’t have gotten him at a worse time. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week is playing lights out basketball of late, leading Cleveland to a 4-0 record last week, dropping 26.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game.
Thankfully for the Mavs, their own fearless leader is enjoying somewhat of a hot streak of his own during the past four contest. After shooting just 30 percent in his previous three games, Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 24.0 points and 6.3 rebounds on 43 percent shooting, including a 29-point effort on Sunday.
“Classic Dirk,” point guard Deron Williams said. “Hitting shots from everywhere, making big shots, big plays. That’s why he’s one of the greatest.”
The Western Conference’s fifth-seeded Mavs (22-16) come into tonight’s contest as winners of three of their past four games and will look to make it two straight victories with a win against the Cavs.