Brooklyn has won a season-high six straight games at home, while the Mavericks are 11-12 on the road. Dallas enters tonight with a 25-19 record, good for third place in the NBA's Southwest division, eighth overall in the Western Conference.
Last season, the teams split their two-game season series, with each team winning on the road. The Nets won the most recent meeting by a score of 113-96.
Deron Williams scored 31 points in that game with Brook Lopez scoring 38 of his own. Reggie Evans had a game-high 22 of the Nets' 45 total rebounds that night.
The Nets won't have Brook Lopez tonight, but they will have Deron Williams, who may come off the bench for the third straight game since his return to the court.
Dirk Nowitzki will suit up tonight after getting a game off for rest on Wednesday night.
Nowtizki is averaging 21.1 points per game, and he's showing no signs of slowing down, even in the midst of his 16th NBA season.
His shooting percentage and three-point shooting percentage this season are above his career averages, as is his free throw percentage and his assists per game.
Key Matchup: With all due respect to Monta Ellis, who is having a solid first season in Dallas, the key matchup is going to be the Nets' defense versus Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki is one of the tallest, longest power forwards in the NBA at 7'0, and the Nets don't have a player who can match his height advantage and his propensity to make his own shot from anywhere on the court. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko will all likely get assignments defending Nowitzki throughout the night.
Player to Watch: It'll be interesting to see how the Nets use Deron Williams, who has come off the bench the past two games in order to not disrupt the rhythm of the starting lineup of Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Nets are 6-0 when starting that five-man lineup this season.
Williams played 27 and 28 minutes, respectively, in his two games off the bench, shooting 4-of-10 in both games with a combined 12 assists and four turnovers. At some point, I'd imagine Kidd will place Williams back in the starting lineup, but it's not going to be tonight. If the Nets keep winning, it might not be any time soon.