Mavs at Jazz Preview (And Fish & Ro On FSSW)

And now the NBA can turn its attention West. Away from the self-created drama of one good player wrestling with his legacy, and to the more organic drama of two good teams wrestling each other. It's the Mavs at Utah tonight – and we've got you covered, including yours truly hosting the FS Southwest pregame and postgame shows, all starting at 8:30 with "Mavs Insider.'' The Mavs-Jazz details:

The Theme

Two teams on similar streaks.

Dallas is 14-4, having won seven straight.

Utah is 15-5, having won seven straight.

The Mavs are a standout road team at 6-1. But Utah has won five straight at home.

The Quote

"It's going to be a good game. There's going to be some hype surrounding it, not as much as the (much-hyped LeBron-at-Cleveland) game, but it should be a fun game to be a part of." – Utah's Deron Williams.

The Mavs' Number

How do the numbers play out during the teams' respective seven-game streaks? Dallas has outscored its foes 101-92.3 over the stretch. …

The Jazz' Number

… And during the same period, Utah has averaged 104.6 points and held opponents to 90.4 points.

The Key

The Mavs preach balance on offense … and Utah practices it. Deron is at 22 points per, Paul Millsap is at 18.3 per, Al Jefferson is at 16.8 per and Andrei Kirilenko is at 12.2 per. That's balance.

The History

It is rich. Utah fans delight in poking fun at Mavs owner Mark Cuban (and he enjoys absorbing the barbs.) Dirk Nowitzki's review of the place – "Utah is a bad city,'' a young Dirk once said before he's studied much American Geography – still echoes in the heads of Jazz fans. … In the last two seasons' visits to Utah, Dirk has received one-game suspensions for his involvement in rough play. … Of interest to Mavs fans: The work of Al Jefferson, a trade subject for the Mavs before they opted to use The DUST Chip on Tyson Chandler. … Dallas has lost its five visits to Salt Lake by an average of 12.8 points.

The Lineups

Again, the TV stuff: "Mavs Insider'' on FS Southwest at 8:30. At 9, I'll join Ro Blackman on "Mavs Live,'' the Mavs-Jazz pregame show. Bob Ortegel and Mark Followill have the play-by-play of the game (and I'll be doing the in-game chat on … and Ro and I are back for the late, late post-game show on FS Southwest.

Utah Jazz Dallas Mavericks
Deron Williams Jason Kidd
Raja Bell DeShawn Stevenson
Andrei Kirilenko Caron Butler
Paul Millsap Dirk Nowitzki
Al Jefferson Tyson Chandler

Visit the Store: Night at the Mavs on Dec. 28, two tickets and a T-shirt for $22!

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