Dallas Mavericks: 7 -7 Isn’t Good Enough

Rick Carlisle will probably have to deal with some questions when things don’t go his way on the court. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

Dallas is 7-7 and sitting in 3rd place in the division behind first place Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs. Dallas is obviously one of the better teams in the NBA, but being inconsistent is the team’s main problem. At this time last week, Dallas was in first place in the division and had a 3 game debacle losing to teams with losing records. Let’s take a look at key players and how the team can improve.

Player Rotation
In the NBA there’s a rule about subbing a hot player for a cold one coming off the bench. In last week’s loss to Milwaukee, head coach Rick Carlisle pulled Tim Hardaway, Jr. out of the game when he scored 7 straight points bringing in a cold player and allowing Luka Doncic to take some ill-advised shots down the stretch. Dallas has plenty of talent on the bench but the rotation is off-kilter. Willie Cauley-Stein should play the bulk of the 4th quarter because he’s the defensive stopper in the paint. Teams are shooting layups and getting second chance points at crucial times in the 4th quarters of every game.

Return of the Unicorn
Kristaps Porzingis had a huge night against the Pacers and was the difference maker in the game. If Porzingis is having success on the court, then Luka will be able to exploit weaknesses in opposing teams as he sees fit.

Health Issues
Dallas is still reeling from COVID-19 issues. Key players have missed games this year. I totally understand playing shorthanded this year is a problem for a few teams (i.e. Charlotte and Memphis – their next three games are cancelled). Dallas will have some key guys coming back from COVID related quarantine.

Western Conference
Dallas is sitting in the 9th spot and if the season ended today, Dallas would be out of the playoffs. The LA Clippers are in the top spot at 11-4 while the Lakers have the same record but lost to the Clippers earlier this season. Dallas is 22nd in the league in scoring at 108.6 a game, 13th in rebounding with 44 and 23rd in assists with 22.7 per game.

The Next 4 Games
1/22 – Dallas @ San Antonio
1/23 – Dallas vs Houston
1/27 – Dallas @ Utah
1/29 – Dallas @ Utah