The Mavs will go for their fifth straight win for the second time this season and will play the final game of a three-game home stand. They face the Clippers, a team they have traditionally dominated in the Dirk Nowitzki era. Since Dirk arrived, the Mavs have won 25 of 33 contests. More recently, the Mavs split their last four games with the Clippers.
Brand is still a ways away
Elton Brand ruptured his Achilles tendon before the season started, and that is likely what will define the season for the Clippers. Brand is their franchise player and is dominant when he's playing, but without him, the Clippers transform into a team full of role players. They're good role players, but need that leading cog to succeed, which is the main reason they are 9-15. Brand is expected to possibly return in February or March, but it's also unsure whether he will return at all this season. If the Clippers are sitting well out of the playoff picture, it's possible they will just shut Brand down for the rest of the season and allow him to heal more.
Kaman doing his best Brand impression
With Brand out, the Clippers really needed some production out of their other big men, and Chris Kaman has stepped in mightily. After a very poor 2006-07 campaign, Kaman is practically a lock to win the Comeback Player of the Year with some very lofty statistical totals and impassioned play that has helped the Clippers win a few more games than many expected them to with Brand out. His averages of 18.3 points, 13.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks are not only career highs but All-Star worthy.
Maggette also excelling
Chris Kaman is having a fantastic year, but that shouldn't overshadow Corey Maggette, who is also playing his best ball in three years. He leads the team in scoring with 20.9 points per game and is looking like the Corey Maggette that the Clippers have been expecting since his breakout campaign in 2004-05 when he averaged 22.2 points and 6 rebounds. He is also averaging a career high in rebounds also with 6.6.
Random useless fact
Sam Cassell co-owns a clothing line with Nick Van Exel and Steve Francis called "We R One."
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd