The Jazz are statistically the best defensive team in basketball. At the same time, they have had issues in the past dealing with teams that play like the Mavericks.
Dallas lost on Thursday to the Miami Heat, but the Mavs have won three of their last four games overall. How has a 14-28 team begun to find its legs? A return to health is one thing, as Dirk Nowitzki is back in the lineup.
Going small is another, with Nowitzki at center, Harrison Barnes at power forward and the three guard lineup of Wes Matthews, Deron Williams and Seth Curry.
Assuming that's the five that lines up against the Jazz tonight, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors could have a difficult time chasing guys on the perimeter. That means the Jazz will have to play to their strengths offensively, all the while figuring out a way to shut the 3-point line off at the other end.
"We look at Dallas as a good team," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "They have a lot of shooters, and they make the shots that they take. It's a dangerous team."
Utah is 27-16 entering tonight, and sitting in the fifth spot of the Western Conference. With the Los Angeles Clippers losing last night, Utah could draw within a game of the fourth spot with a win tonight.
Perhaps more importantly, the Jazz are trying to win their fifth consecutive game, which would be a season high. They have won four straight games four different times.