Dallas Mavericks: Seeing the Finish Line

Will this really be the last season for The Big German? Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Joel Montgomery

The Mavericks once again find themselves busy in the NBA headlines, as now with Kristaps Porzingis having to deal with some off-court troubles, the team presses on in the final stretch of games to prepare for an important offseason. Here’s how the last week transpired on the hardwood…
vs Sacramento Kings (3/26)
On Tuesday night, the Mavs once again met the Kings, but this time in the Lone Star State. Former Dallas small forward Harrison Barnes looked to perform in his return to the AA center.
De’Aaron Fox (23 pts, 8 asts) led the Kings in scoring as he wraps up a very promising sophomore season. Barnes (18 pts) also scored promptly in front of his old fans, and former Mavs guard Yogi Ferrell (7 pts) got a cheer from the Dallas crowd as well. 
Luka Doncic (28 pts, 12 rebs, 12 asts) put up his second straight triple double, continuing his convincing case for Rookie of the Year. Dwight Powell (21 pts, 13 rebs) had a nice double-double as he performed well down low, and Maxi Kleber (17 pts) took advantage of his many minutes off the bench. It was a close, high scoring game, but in the end, Sacramento pulled out on top.
FINAL: Sacramento 125 (37-37), Dallas 121 (29-45)
@ Miami Heat (3/28)
The Mavs faced the Heat in Miami on Thursday, and despite the low score, both teams got offensive output from all across their respective rosters.
For Miami, Goran Dragic (23 pts, 12 rebs, 11 asts) earned a triple-double in a vintage game for the Slovenian guard. Bam Adebayo (11 pts, 16 rebs) got a double-double for himself, something the team probably wants to see a lot more moving forward.
Luka (19 pts, 8 rebs, 7 asts) was close to getting his third straight triple-double, but nonetheless performed up to snuff against a team known for gritty defense. Dirk (13 pts) tied for the team’s third highest scorer as he was out there looking chipper in his 28 mins of play.
FINAL: Miami 105 (37-38), Dallas 99 (29-46)
@ Oklahoma City Thunder (3/31)
The Mavericks actually had something to play for on Sunday, as they knew they had the opportunity to help spoil the Thunder’s chances of climbing back up the ranks and out of an unfavorable playoff seeding. Fortunately for Dallas, they came through and pulled out the road upset in the end, despite Luka sitting out (rest).
Former Knick Trey Burke (25 pts, 8 asts) led Dallas in scoring and distributing in Luka’s absence, and Devin Harris (15 pts) was extremely efficient in his 17 mins off the bench. Dirk (7 pts, 13 rebs) actually managed the now-rare paint presence as he earned double digit rebounds. Not something you see too often anymore from the 40 year-old Nowtizki.
Even in the loss, OKC got good output out of their three cornerstone pieces. Russell Westbrook (25 pts, 11 rebs, 11 asts) coined a triple-double which he’s made commonplace, Paul George (27 pts, 11 rebs) did his usual thing in commanding the scoring helm, and Steven Adams (20 pts, 15 rebs) had a monster game from the inside. It’s apparent for the Thunder that even when these 3 show out like they’re supposed to in crunch time, it’ll take the collaboration of them and the rest of the team in a cohesive unit if they want to stop this downtrend and make any noise in the playoffs. 
FINAL: Dallas 106 (30-46), Oklahoma City 103 (44-33)
vs Philadelphia 76ers (4/1)
Monday brought on another game the Mavs could look forward to going all out in, as the Sixers despite having great footing at the 3-seed in the East, need to keep winning as not to let the Celtics catch up and take that spot from them. Even so, Philly decided to sit two of their stars in Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler for this contest, possible as to help them prepare for the upcoming postseason gauntlet. 
In the disappointing offensive night for the Sixers, J.J. Redick (26 pts) led the team in scoring, while newly-acquired Tobias Harris (25 pts, 6 rebs) wasn’t far behind. Ben Simmons (17 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts) busted out his usual daily grind, but missing his main guys made the performance moot.
With Luka once again sitting out, the rest of the guys had to pick up the slack. Justin Jackson (24 pts) led the team in scoring, while Salah Mejri (16 pts, 14 rebs) had an impressive double-double in his 24 mins of play. As long as he’s healthy, Salah will always be a reliable big off the bench for Dallas, and this night furthered that point. 
FINAL: Dallas 122 (31-46), Philadelphia 102 (49-28)
With only 5 games left, the team can see the finish line distinctly. With just one last series of matchups against some inner-conference foes, it’s time to wrap things up.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
4/3 vs Timberwolves   7:30 p.m.
4/5 vs Grizzlies             7:30 p.m.
4/7 @ Grizzlies             5:00 p.m.
4/9 vs Suns                    7:30 p.m.
4/10 @ Spurs                7:00 p.m.