Dallas Mavericks: Focused on Playoff Run

SG Tim Hardaway Jr. has become a real asset since being traded to the Mavs. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Joel Montgomery

With the All Star break done and over with, the Mavericks prepare to face the final stretch of the regular season in order to set themselves up favorably for the playoffs. Now once again having to bear with no Luka (thumb), the team will have to apply what they’ve learned from playing without him for a possible handful of games.

vs Minnesota Timberwolves (2/24)
Hosting the struggling T-Wolves on Monday night, Dallas turned up the jets on offense for the first half, outscoring Minnesota 81-65. Tim Hardaway Jr. (23 pts) led the Mavs in scoring, Dončić (20 pts, 9 rebs, 7 asts) had a near-triple double in only 25 minutes. Seth Curry (19 pts) with 5 three-pointers. 

Minnesota was led by D’Angelo Russell (29 pts, 5 asts), and got good output off the bench from James Johnson (19 pts). But overall, after Dallas got control early, they maintained it to the end in this high-scoring romp.

FINAL: Dallas 139 (35-23), Minnesota 123 (16-40)

@ San Antonio Spurs (2/26) 
The Mavs traveled in-state southbound to face their rival in the Spurs on Wednesday, and once again a very strong start propelled them to success in the end.

Outscoring the Spurs 36-20 in the first quarter, it was mostly smooth sailing from there. This time Luka (26 pts, 10 rebs, 14 asts) completed the triple double, and Kristaps Porzingis (28 pts, 12 rebs) scored from both near and far. 

The Spurs only notable scorer was DeMar DeRozan (27 pts, 8 rebs, 9 asts), who had a great overall performance as an individual. Without LaMarcus Aldridge available Kristaps was able to do as he pleased offensively, and the Spurs’ weaknesses were clear through the night. The Mavs took advantage of such on their way to the win.

FINAL: Dallas 109 (36-23), San Antonio 103 (24-33)

@ Miami Heat (2/28)
Friday night was Luka’s 21st birthday, and to celebrate the Mavericks looked to steal one from the Heat, who have stumbled a bit since the turn of the All Star break.

Offense for the Mavs mainly stemmed from an explosion by Seth Curry (37 pts). Shooting 13-15 from the field, including 8-9 from three-range, he was locked in for the entire game. Both Luka (23 pts, 10 asts) and Kristaps (24 pts, 13 rebs) struggled shooting the ball despite okay-looking overall numbers.

Jimmy Butler (26 pts, 5 rebs) led Miami, and Duncan Robinson (24 pts, 6-9 3PT) had an efficient scoring night. It was ultimately the Heat’s offensive efficiency that led to their victory.

FINAL: Miami 126 (37-22), Dallas 118 (36-24)

@ Minnesota Timberwolves (3/1)
March is here, meaning the regular season is quickly coming to a close. The Mavs went back to face the Wolves to start the month, this time traveling to their home turf; though in this contest they’d be without Luka due to his thumb injury. It mattered not as Dallas was able to bounce back and scored big as a unit once again.

Porzingis (38 pts, 13 rebs) went all out in his co-star’s absence, harkening back to his days of carrying the Knicks. Curry (27 pts) also once again had a great offensive outing. After the three scoring pillars of KP, Curry and Hardaway Jr, the team’s scoring was widespread. It was a cruise to the win after a strong first half outscoring the Wolves 63-44.

Russell (16 pts, 9 rebs, 7 asts) led Minnesota again, but had an off night shooting (6-18 FG). Overall, the team’s nearly whole lineup struggled from the field on the night, leading to their blowout loss.

FINAL: Dallas 111 (37-24), Minnesota 91 (17-42)

The Mavericks still currently stand at the 7th playoff seed, currently poised to play the Nuggets if the regular season were to end today. With the race being tight and the Western Conference playoff teams and their matchups being so drastically different, Dallas will have to look out what’s going on around them and what could possibly be in store as they also worry about keeping themselves in it.

Upcoming Schedule
3/2 @ Bulls              7:00pm CST
3/4 vs Pelicans       8:30pm CST
3/6 vs Grizzlies       7:30pm CST
3/8 vs Pacers          6:00pm CST