Dallas Mavericks: Split Last Four

 

By Joel Montgomery 

Riding their strong momentum at home, the Dallas Mavericks have been reeling going into the holidays. With just another week of matchups before Christmas, the team is trying to give to the fans before the time for giving to family is nigh:
 
vs Orlando Magic (12/10)
Monday night, the Mavs faced a Magic team who, while at least not standing at the bottom of the conference, is struggling to get at and above .500 in the East. When they came to the AA Center, their struggles continued as Dallas retained their home turf protection in a dominating win. Jalen Brunson had his first standout game with 17 points in 32 minutes. Due to Dennis Smith Jr being inactive for the game, Brunson got alot more action for some good rookie experience. Luka nearly had a triple-double, notching 7 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists.
 
FINAL: Dallas 101 (14-11), Orlando 76 (12-15)
  
vs Atlanta Hawks (12/12)
On Wednesday, it was a battle of draft picks. Two that happened to be traded for one another, to be precise. Luka Dončić was drafted by Atlanta during the 2018 Draft, and when Dallas was on the clock, they traded for the Dončić pick so Atlanta could take their spot to get the guy they wanted in Trae Young. So far this season though, Luka has seemed to have the better start. Traveling to Dallas, Young found himself in familiar Big 12 territory with something to prove.
 
Trae Young actually ended up with a solid double-double, with 24 points and 10 dimes. Him dishing it around got Atlanta’s premiere players going, as they were a point away from having 4 players at 20+ points each. In the end though, it wasn’t enough for Dallas’ own unselfish offense.
 
Harrison Barnes led offensively with 25 points, with Luka right behind on his 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. With Barnes proving the worth of his contract and Dončić the worth of his draft status, the potential for the Mavericks’ dynamic schemes increases liken to the team’s glory days.
 
FINAL: Dallas 114 (15-11), Atlanta 107 (6-21)
  
@ Phoenix Suns (12/13)
Despite being the tail-end of a brief cross country field trip, this day of Dirk’s return into the lineup has finally come. With Nowitzki on the court, the team seemed to have a new kind of energy…
 
… It’s only unfortunate that energy didn’t amount to much of anything in this contest, as the Mavs failed to get anything significant executed offensively. While it may look good on the stat sheet that they had 5 players score in double digits, Barnes, their highest scorer, was only at 15 points. Dirk only played 6 minutes, but notched 2 points in his debut since his ankle surgery.
 
On Phoenix’s end, TJ Warren went on a tear for the Suns with a 30-point performance, and the team will try to take this home win with them for some overall improvement to their season.
 
FINAL: Phoenix 99 (5-24), Dallas 89 (15-12)
 
vs Sacramento Kings (12/16)
Dallas hosted a rolling Sacramento squad that has been the biggest surprise of the NBA season so far, currently sitting behind the Mavs at the 9th seed. If they keep things up, they’ll be right there competing for a playoff spot come end of the season.
 
The Kings’ dazzling backcourt shined in the team’s high-scoring victory, with both Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox scoring 28 points. Yogi Ferrell had 8 points in 15 minutes in his return to Dallas.
 
Even in a loss, Luka was able to show his stuff all around the board. He ended up with 28 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists as he continued his ROTY campaign. DeAndre Jordan ruled the board with 23 rebounds, but his paint presence didn’t do much in stopping the outside games of Hield and Fox.
 
FINAL: Sacramento 120 (16-13), Dallas 113 (15-13)
 
After riding cloud nine for the first time in a long time, the Mavericks can finally come back down to Earth after a short lull and dropping a couple games. Fortunately, there are some good things to take even out of these losses, such as team-ball continuing to be an emphasis and Luka constantly displaying his development and talent. This wake up call could be good for Dallas, as they now face a tough road trip filled with top-tier Western Conference competition, with significant matchups that could be potential playoff prologues.
 
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
12/18 @ Nuggets        8:00 p.m.
12/20 @ Clippers       9:30 p.m. 
12/22 @ Warriors       7:30 p.m. 
12/23 @ Trail Blazers  8:00 p.m.