Defense has helped the Dallas Mavericks maintain a spot in the top half of the Western Conference playoff picture near the midway point of the season.
Shutting down the New Jersey Nets' offense may not be too difficult, which Dallas will try to do as seeks its 12th straight home victory in the series Tuesday night.
The Mavericks (21-13) won the NBA championship last season with a defensive focus, and their title defense has been built the same way. They are tied for fourth in the league with 90.8 points allowed per game and rank first in field-goal percentage defense at 41.6.
Dallas has held 12 of 13 opponents to fewer than 100 points.
''We sell (defense),'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our emphasis is the defensive end, because we feel our flow game offense is good enough to where we can create shots. But that doesn't happen if we don't get the stops.''
Owner Mark Cuban has been pleased with the team's effort despite losing Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and Caron Butler during the ...