Dallas Mavericks: Gearing Up for the Future

Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks front office are contemplating their next moves for the future. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Joel Montgomery

Following the aftermath of the blockbuster trade bringing in Kristaps Porzingis and sending out Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavs organization and their fanbase went into this past week with a retooled scope for the future of the franchise. With Luka Doncic in complete takeover mode in his rookie year and a verbal commitment from Porzingis to sign long-term with Dallas if fully healthy, there’s potentially a lot to be excited about in pro hoops for the DFW area:
 
@ New York Knicks (1/30)
The day before the fated trade, Dallas squared off against their soon-to-be business associate in New York, where the Mavericks went on an offensive barrage on the way to an impressive 24-point road win. Harrison Barnes (19 pts) led the team in scoring, and Doncic (16 pts, 8 rebs, 5 asts) was actually able to coast due to ample support as compared to most nights. Dirk even managed to have his season-high in points (14). Almost poetically, in his final game as a Maverick, and against the team he now calls home, Dennis Smith Jr (13 pts, 10 rebs, 15 asts) notched a triple-double in his swan-song donning Dallas blue. Wesley Matthews (17 pts) also performed well in his last game for the Mavs.
 
Kevin Knox (17 pts, 5 rebs) led the team in points, and he’ll be the team’s young focal point as they prepare for a potentially huge offseason. Trey Burke (16 pts) did well in his last game in New York, and the highly-underrated guard will play a reliable offensive role for Dallas moving forward.
 
FINAL: Dallas 114 (23-27), New York 90 (10-40)
 
@ Detroit Pistons (1/31)
For the final game of January, the Mavs traveled to MoTown, where they faced a Pistons team that’s struggling to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Unfortunately for Dallas though, Detroit came to play as they rode behind a 30-19 4th quarter on the way to a 4-point victory.
 
Luka sat out of the tail end of this back-to-back, which obviously stuck a significant wrench in Dallas’ schemes. Barnes (27 pts, 7 rebs) posted an impressive individual scoring performance, and Devin Harris (15 pts) did well off the bench, but otherwise, the Mavericks struggled to make a lot of noise  on the offensive side. 
 
Blake Griffin (24 pts, 10 rebs, 6 asts) and Andre Drummond (24 pts, 20 rebs) completely dominated the paint in a game where the Mavericks probably missed DeAndre Jordan, if even just a little bit. Thankfully though, if they can get a healthy Porzingis to sign with the team for the long haul, this won’t be a problem for long.
 
FINAL: Detroit 93 (22-28), Dallas 89 (23-28)
  
@ Cleveland Cavaliers (2/2)
On Saturday night, the Mavs ended their brief Eastern road trip against the young, post-LeBron Cavaliers—still trying to find an identity with their young roster. With two teams in semi-similar spots, you’d expect a close game…
 
… But Luka wasn’t having that (35 pts, 11 rebs, 6 asts), as he completely took over and showed why omitting him from the All Star game could be a big mistake. Could that snub lead to Luka going on a tear like never before?
 
Barnes (17 pts) provided usual offensive support, while Jalen Brunson (15 pts, 6 rebs) and Maxi Kleber (10, 9 rebs) performed well in their extended roles as the team waits for their new teammates to start retooling the rotations.
 
For Cleveland, as they still wait for Kevin Love’s return from foot surgery, Jordan Clarkson (19 pts) led them in scoring, and Larry Nance Jr. (11 pts, 12 rebs) had a double-double off the bench.
 
FINAL: Dallas 111 (24-28), Cleveland 98 (11-42)
 
After grabbing a few wins on the road, the Mavericks still find themselves only a few games out from the coveted 8-seed. With the final push of the season being imminent, can a born-again Mavericks punch their playoff ticket?
 
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
2/6 vs Hornets           7:30 p.m.
2/8 vs Bucks               7:30 p.m.
2/10 vs Trail Blazers 2:00 p.m.