By Bryan Murphy
It was a successful three game road trip to begin the season for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs looked extremely impressive in the season opening shellacking of the Phoenix Suns where eight different Mavs scored in double figures.
The following game against the budding rival Los Angeles Clippers went the complete opposite after getting blown out from the start. It was very much expected, though because Dallas was without the services of Wes Mathews, Deron Williams and Chandler Parsons. But, for the first time this season, we saw all three of those guys in action in the starting line-up against 37 year-old Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Parsons didn’t look all that great in his debut, scoring two points on 1-of-6 shooting but it’s still huge for the Mavs to already have Mathews and Parsons back from injury so soon and on the court together. A guy who did look great in the 103-93 win over L.A. was the Big German, Dirk Nowitzki. He turned back the clock putting up 25 points, nine rebounds and even had a monster dunk when he had the much smaller defender in Lou Williams switched on him.
The victory was also Coach Rick Carlisle’s 340th as the Mavericks coach, breaking Don Nelson’s previous franchise record.
Now the Mavs take its 2-1 record back to Dallas for three games. The 3-0 Toronto Raptors come to town Tuesday night fir the Mavs’ home opener. The Raptors have looked mighty impressive in its first three outings, scoring at least 106 points in all three games with an average margin of victory of 12.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are already in all-star form scoring nearly 40 PPG combined. The addition of DeMarre Carroll from the Atlanta Hawks in the offseason has already been paying off for Toronto. Carroll is a fine compliment piece to DeRozan, Lowry and the bruising big man Jonas Valanciunas and will be my player to watch. Carroll is a good defensive player and can at times shoot the lights out if too much attention is given to guys like DeRozan who can really score the basketball.
On Thursday night, the 0-3 Charlotte Hornets head to the American Airlines Center looking for its first win of the young season. Don’t let the winless record fool you, Mavs fans. The Hornets schedule to start the season hasn’t been the easiest, losing by ten to the much improved and healthier Miami Heat and then losing back-to-back games to the Atlanta Hawks, who won 60 games last season.
The Hornets’ two best players from last season, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson are back and playing well but the additions of many new players like Jeremy Lin, Nicolas Batum and Spencer Hawes have this team still trying to gel things together.
To close out the week, another winless team will look for its first win. The New Orleans Pelicans are a team that many analysts have being much improved this season and even finishing ahead of the Mavs when it’s all said and done. The reason is because Anthony Davis. Davis is an absolute freak on the basketball court who can do just about anything.
For the season so far, Davis is averaging 23 PPG, over 2 BPG, 10.3 RPG and the scary part is that he has developed a three point stroke to go along with his ridiculous post presence. In his first three seasons in the NBA, Davis had just made a total of three three-pointers. This season he already has four made threes on just nine attempts.
You might be wondering why this Pelicans team with one of the most talented basketball players on the planet has lost its first three games. The reason being that they have had the daunting task of already facing the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors twice. In both of those games, reigning MVP Steph Curry outplayed Davis and appears to be even better this season, if that was even possible.
Expect Davis to have a monster game against Zaza Pachulia and Dwight Powell, much like he did last season when he faced the Mavs, even getting the best of Tyson Chandler.
This will be an exciting week for Mavs fans with the starting lineup of Pachulia, Dirk, Parsons, Mathews, and Williams all healthy just in time for the home opener. Just like in the first three games this season on the road, winning two of these next three would be a major positive for a Mavs team who many don’t have very high expectations for this season.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
11/3 vs Raptors 7:30 pm
11/5 vs Hornets 7:30 pm
11/7 vs Pelicans 7:30 pm