After a strong start to the season that had them as high as the 3rd seed in the Western Conference, the Mavericks have had some struggles as of late, including playing down to competition and a lack of team synergy. This past week, though sparse in games, fortunately ended on a high note with a good potential bounce-back win to kick the team back into gear.
@ Boston Celtics (11/11)
Dallas traveled to The Garden on Monday night to challenge the Celtics, who have a steadily improving young roster finding an identy after the Kyrie Irving experiment that didn’t really work out. Fortunately for Boston, the returns they’re getting out of star point guard Kemba Walker are as good as they could have hoped. Walker (29 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts) had his way against the Mavs’ defensive efforts, as did Jaylen Brown (25 pts, 11 rebs), whose on a mission to prove his contract extension was no accident. Jayson Tatum (5 pts, 8 rebvs) struggled, as he’s been trying to find his footing with the team’s new direction.
While Luka Doncic (34 pts, 6 rebs, 9 asts) did his best to carry the load for Dallas, the rest of the team’s offensive output couldn’t match Boston’s. The team shot an atrocious 26.2% from three-point range, which was the only glaring team stat they were crushed in. However, in a league that only increasingly emphasizes the importance of the three-point shot, the team can’t shoot that badly if they want to catch wins against playoff-caliber opponents.
FINAL: Boston 116 (9-1), Dallas 106 (6-4)
@ New York Knicks (11/14)
In Kristaps Porzingis’ return to Madison Square Garden to face his former team in the Knicks, it was a reunion he probably wants to forget soon. Having to face the downpour of jeers throughout the contest, Porzingis and the team as a whole couldn’t contain New York’s dynamic paint presence.
Marcus Morris (20 pts) led the Knicks in scoring, and it was his go-ahead stepback 3 in the final minute that ultimately sealed the victory for New York. Julius Randle’s double-double(17 pts, 10 rebs) and Mitchell Robinson’s (16 pts, 8 rebs) efficient bench minutes provided the rest of the team’s low block control. Making good work in his new role, former Mav Dennis Smith Jr (13 pts, 6 rebs, 8 asts) showcased his potential as a dynamic sixth man.
While Luka (33 pts, 11 rebs, 10 asts) and Porzingis (20 pts, 11 rebs) earned a triple-double & double-double respectively, Dallas once again could not get it together from beyond the arc, shooting 22.2% as a team, even worse than last game. And while the Knicks were hitting shots late to maintain the close lead, Dallas couldn’t follow suit as they failed to come through in the end. The Mavs were also severely outmatched in the rebounds department, an area they’ve been struggling in for a few years now. Now finishing their season series against New York in a losing sweep, the game was hopefully an eye opener for the team going forward.
FINAL: New York 106 (3-9), Dallas 103 (6-5)
vs Toronto Raptors (11/16)
Going back home to face the Raptors, the Mavericks didn’t care that there was no Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry to be found on the court, as the team went all out against the defending champions. For Dallas, the team finally was able to come together to create some good looking synergy that turned up satisfying results.
Doncic (26 pts, 15 rebs, 7 asts) showcased his dynamic talents once again, as this game he decided to his ability to use his length to his advantage in grabbing numerous boards. Porzingis (20 pts, 15 rebs) also did his part securing rebounds for more possessions for Dallas, as he bounced back from his rough Knicks reunion with little problems. Curry and Wright both scored 15 each, once again showing the potential of Dallas’ backcourt depth.
Toronto’s backcourt performed as well, with Norman Powell (26 pts) and Fred VanVleet (24 pts, 5 rebs, 7 asts) both doing their thing. But they weren’t provided enough support to put the game in their favor.
Once again Dallas struggled from three-point range (23.1%). Despite the win, the consistency of their inconsistent shooting is starting to look like a concerning area.
FINAL: Dallas 110 (7-5), Toronto 102 (8-4)
With a 3-game stand back at the American Airlines Center this week, the Mavericks hope to continue bouncing back from those back to back losses with some home cooking.
vs Spurs (11/18) 7:30pm CST
vs Warriors (11/20) 6:30pm CST
vs Cavaliers (11/22) 7:30pm CST