The Dallas Mavericks will look to survive again on Tuesday night as they need to win Game 5 against the Houston Rockets to avoid a 4-1 series defeat.
Where: Toyota Center, Houston.
When: Wednesday April 29, 01:00 (UK time)
The Rockets endured a cold shooting night last time out which helped their in-state rivals avoid a series sweep, but given their form over the regular season this year, it is unlikely that they will suffer from another one in Game 5.
Last time out, the likes of Monta Ellis, Al-Farouq Aminu and JJ Barea were on fire to give Dallas the kind of spark that they needed to pick up a win, and coach Rick Carlisle will have been delighted with their reaction to falling three games down in the opening round of the post-season.
However, they are back on the road on Tuesday night and it is seemingly a matter of time before they are eliminated from contention, as James Harden and Dwight Howard will want to wrap things up in front of an expectant home crowd and avoid another road trip.
The form guide doesn’t look good for the visitors given that they have dropped their last four games at the Toyota Center, and so it will take something special to break the trend that is emerging.
Dirk Nowitzki will need to step up to help the likes of Ellis on the offensive end, while Carlisle has arguably got the reaction he wanted in terms of defensive intensity from his players.
With Rajon Rondo and Chandler Parsons out of the series the Mavs are short-handed, but they appear to have rallied after the controversy with the former and are ready to go out with a fight.
Should Houston wrap this up on Tuesday night, they will have a chance to rest and look on as they await the winner of the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers series. Given that they are at home and have the finish line in sight, this is the end of the playoff road for the Mavericks.
Prediction: Rockets to win.