Mavs at Warriors: An All-Offense Preview

Earlier this season, a Mavs-Warriors game would've pitted the NBA's two most explosively efficient offensive teams. Tonight? One club figures to struggle to keep up with the other.

Mavs at Warriors

The Dallas Mavericks spent the early part of the 2014-15 season running neck-and-neck with the Warriors in terms of offensive efficiency and explosiveness.

Golden State has kept up the pace.

Dallas is working to maintain.

Golden State is 38-8 -- the best record in the league -- and has spent most of the year ranking first in points per game (now at 111) and first in assists (now at 27.3). These are also areas of pride for the Mavs; while the Warriors have a 18-1 record when they record 30 assists, the Mavs have a 12-1 record when they record 27.

And even without Rajon Rondo tonight (out for at least a week with fractures to his eye socket and nose), Dallas can probably keep up in the area of ball movement.

But scoring? Stephen Curry is at 23 points per, and with 8.2 assists is is the only player in the league averaging at least 20/8. No Rajon Rondo to guard him is a problem here. Curry is helped, of course, by backcourt mate Klay Thompson averaging 16 points. ... and the Mavs have matchup problems there, too.

"It just makes us hard to guard," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr of his club's balance.

If the Mavs are able to answer on the offensive end -- the Mavericks do rank second and eighth in the aforementioned categories -- it will likely start with Monta Ellis, the former Warrior who is averaging 24.7 points on 51.7 percent shooting over the past six games. In Ellis' last four games against his former club, Monta (below photo USAToday) has a 21.8 scoring average in his last four meetings his former team. ... though Golden State has won the last four matchups between these clubs.


Dallas is also riding a good offensive streak from Chandler Parsons, who over the last six games is averaging 17.5 points, 60.9-percent shooting and 55.6 percent from three while finishing around the rim at a 73.9-percent clip. He’s actually fourth in the league in effective field-goal percentage over the last eight games. And Dirk's at 18.3 points and six rebounds and has Holger in the States, always a good thing.

But no Rondo means adjustments up and down the totem pole. Devin Harris (knee and ankle) will try to play, J.J. Barea will be relied upon as he was in Monday's win over Minnesota (which moved the Mavs to 33-17, bunched in the middle of the high-quality West playoff race) and Raymond Felton could be involved at the point, too.

But team defense is where Dallas suffers most without Rondo, whose presence since his Dec. 18 trade from Boston has elevated the Mavs, winners of three straight, from middle-of-the-pack into top-10 status in some categories. Dallas learned some of what it'll take back on Dec. 13, when the Mavs were manhandled by the Warriors, 105-98, at the AAC.

“We’ve got to guard them better,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We struggled really at both ends of the court. Our offense wasn’t very good and they hit some hellacious shots, which they do. You’ve got to be aggressive and you’ve got to be on your game. And it always helps if they miss a couple that they normally make, but you’ve got to make them do that.”

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