Programming note: Warriors-Mavericks coverage starts Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and streaming live right here
The Warriors are the hottest team in the NBA and their linchpin has been defense. That aspect will get a serious test Saturday against the Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The Warriors (19-2), on a franchise-record 14-game win streak, will be without their rim protector, as center Andrew Bogut has been ruled out against a Mavs team averaging an NBA-high 110.5 points per game.
Warriors by 2.5.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Klay Thompson vs. Monta Ellis -- With Jameer Nelson starting at the point, Ellis has been filling the shooting guard role. He's a natural scorer, and he's having a fine season. Thompson will try to stay in front of the quicksilver ex-Warrior, who has no chance of containing Thompson's offense.
Draymond Green vs. Dirk Nowitzki -- It's a classic battle between a power forward built like a small forward (Green) and a 7-foot power forward who plays more like a small forward. The key to defending Nowitzki is being relentlessly physical, which perfectly suits Green's approach.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Bring the D -- The Mavericks are rhythm team with at least six players capable of heating up and dropping a bundle of points.
2) Park on the arc -- The Mavs are the only team in the league that allows its opponents to shoot more than 40 percent from the 3-point line.
3) Clean the glass -- The Warriors are the vastly superior rebounding team, and that's an advantage they can't afford to lose.
Warriors -– C Andrew Bogut (right knee tendinitis) and F David Lee (strained left hamstring) are listed as out.
Mavericks -– G Raymond Felton (sprained right ankle) is listed as probable. F Chandler Parsons (lower back soreness) and G Jameer Nelson (right shoulder soreness) are listed as questionable.
The Warriors have a three-game win streak against the Mavericks, their longest since a five-game streak from 2006-07, and have won five of the last seven meetings. The Warriors also have lost 10 of the last 13 in Dallas.