With a roster nearly identical to last year's club, suddenly the Mavs look like a legitimate contender instead of the team ousted early the last four seasons in the playoffs, especially after nabbing big wins in November over the Spurs, Celtics and Heat on their way to a double-digit winning streak. The difference? Tyson Chandler (one of few newbies added to the team in an offseason trade with the Bobcats) and Brendan Haywood have provided a presence at the center position this city hasn't seen since Roy Tarpley in the 1980s. After six frustrating years of Erick Dampier and struggling through the Shawn Bradley era, Dallas finally has a couple players in the paint who have backbone. Before the team takes on San Antonio for the second time on Thursday (this time at home), they have what should be an easy win on their hands in a match-up against the Toronto Raptors. Head to the American Airlines Center and watch Chandler and Haywood attempt to contain Raptors center Andrea Bargnani at 7:30 p.m. Call 214-747-6287 for tickets or visit nba.com/mavericks.
Tue., Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m., 2010