Dallas Mavericks Off to a Rough Start

Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Joel Montgomery

The Dallas Mavericks have finally kicked off their 2018 season! After a lot of new faces in the building to breathe some new life into the franchise, Mavs nation has been eager to kick off the new year. And even though there have been some bumps in the road through the course of this first week and a half of the team’s new outing, there have been many sparks and potential advantages for the franchise to fully realize as they develop throughout the season. 
 
@ Phoenix Suns (10/17)
Dallas started things off in Arizona to face 2018’s number one overall pick Deandre Ayton and the Suns. Phoenix showed their fans things to be excited about for many years to come, as they bested the Mavs by 21 in an offensive explosive. Devin Booker was all over the court with his 35 easy ones, and Ayton notched a 18-point, 10 rebound double-double to start his NBA career. Dallas’ Luka Dončić finished his debut with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
 
FINAL: Phoenix 121 (1-0), Dallas 100 (0-1)
 
vs Minnesota Timberwolves (10/20)
The Mavericks made their season home debut shine with offensive firepower from all sides. This extremely high-scoring game is indicative of the direction the NBA is headed with rules and schemes beginning to favor higher volume offense. Rookie 1st rounder Dončić led Dallas in points with his 26, showing he’s not afraid to immediately be a centerpiece to the Mavs’ gameplan. DeAndre Jordan brought the house down in his American Airlines debut as a Maverick, and the crowd welcomed him warmly. With high flying alley oops and monster blocks, Jordan proved to be an absolute unit in the paint, unlike this franchise has seen since Tyson Chandler back when the team was a championship contender. Jordan proved to be right at home with the Mavs, and he looked absolutely pumped to the arena’s electricity throughout his 22 point, 10 rebound, 5 block performance. After this night Jordan probably wishes he had taken that offer in 2015. But that’s water under the bridge. Welcome home, DAJ.
 
FINAL: Dallas 140 (1-1), Minnesota 136 (1-2)
 
vs Chicago Bulls (10/22)
Despite Bulls point guard Zach LaVine, whose been on a roll to start the year, come out with another offensive barrage (34 points), the Mavs were able to hold Chicago off by spreading the ball around efficiently. Dallas had 6 players in double figures, with Wesley Matthews’ 20 points leading the charge.
 
FINAL: Dallas 115 (2-1), Chicago 109 (0-3)
 
@ Atlanta Hawks (10/24)
After showing some great promise after a 2-1 start, Dallas’ young bunch came back down to earth as they proved they still need experience in closing out an NBA game. Despite at one point holding a 26-point lead, the Mavericks allowed the Hawks to surge back and never waiver as they end up swinging the tide and winning by 7. Kent Bazemore’s 32 points did some heavy damage in Atlanta’s comeback, and rookie Trae Young (who Dallas traded to the Hawks for Dončić) had 17 points, with some clutch plays made down the stretch. Dallas scored an impressive 42 points in the first quarter, but it was only down from there in the road loss.
 
FINAL: Atlanta 111 (2-2), Dallas 104 (2-2)
 
@ Toronto Raptors (10/26)
Dallas traveled to the Great White North on Friday night to face Kawhi Leonard, the bane of their Texas rivalry in recent years. Leonard kicked it back for old times’ sake to beat the Mavericks once again, and has shown that his previous injury isn’t going to hold him back moving forward, as everything is looking a-okay for the star in his new home. In the loss, Dallas was led by Luka’s 22 points, as well as another commanding performance in the paint by DeAndre with his 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Raptors are undefeated to start the season and sit atop the Eastern Conference. Could a good year get Kawhi to sign back for long term?
 
FINAL: Toronto 116 (6-0), Dallas (2-3) 
 
vs Utah Jazz (10/28)
Dallas brought it back home on Sunday evening to get back to facing some Western Conference competition in the Jazz. Utah is coming into this year looking bright as they want to capitalize off their surprising 2017-18 season with another playoff appearance and then some. The Jazz managed to keep their distance for the duration of the game in their 9-point win. Donovan Mitchell, out for his sophomore season with high expectations, finished with 20 points. Utah’s own domineering paint presence Rudy Gobert led them with his 23 points and 16 rebounds. Despite the loss for the Mavs, Dennis Smith Jr finally got going in his first stand-out performance of the season with his 27 points. DeAndre Jordan once again made his paint presence known with his 12 points and 19 rebounds. In the current NBA and its plethora of stretch 4’s and centers that can launch it from 3, it was refreshing to enjoy a game with 2 traditional centers who are REALLY good at what they do.
 
FINAL: Utah 113 (4-2), Dallas 104 (2-4)
 
After this start to the season, one could glance at the Mavericks’ record and automatically think “Here we go again…” but the wins and losses so far don’t tell the whole story. Dallas is still getting its feet wet with it’s young talent that are still figuring out how to win in this league and maintain a sense of consistency. They’re showing to probably have it’s potentially most dominant paint presence in franchise history, as well as some great promise shown from their first-round draft pick in Dončić. As the season continues to unfold, expect numerous up-trends in the way this team plays as they learn to cooperate and elevate at the professional level, and BlitzWeekly will be there to cover it all.
 
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
10/29 @ Spurs       7:30 p.m.
10/31 @ Lakers      9:30 p.m.
11/2 vs Knicks        7:30 p.m.