By DaVince “Dino” Wright
Last week the Dallas Mavericks sat in the 3rd place spot in the Western Conference. Injuries and turnovers have dropped this team into the 7th spot and second place in the Southwestern Division right behind the surging Memphis Grizzlies. Luka Doncic has been out with an ankle injury yet Dallas is on a 2-game winning streak in his absence. In their last five games, Dallas is 3-2 with wins over Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Memphis. Dallas should have Luka back in Wednesday’s contest versus the LA Lakers. Dallas is capable of getting wins without Luka on the floor. It’s time for other players to step up and contribute to the team on offense and defense. Head Coach Jason Kidd will have things in order and keep the squad in the thick of things. Let’s take a closer look at the Mavericks next five games and share some thoughts.
12/15 – LA Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks – 6:30PM CT – TV: ESPN
This national televised game will display the Mavericks and the Lakers. Lakers center Anthony Davis is hampered with an injury and is listed as day-to-day. He is the leading scorer and leads the team in rebound. Dallas can take full advantage of his absence and get a much-needed win against the Lakers. Final Score: LA Lakers 97 – Mavericks 104!
12/19 – Dallas Mavericks vs Minnesota Timberwolves – 7:00PM CT
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has been playing really good ball in the paint. Dallas gives up an average 55 points in the paint to opposition. Towns leads the Timberwolves in scoring with 24 points per game. In order for Dallas to get a win, they need to play tough in the paint! Final Score: Mavericks 99 – Timberwolves 81!
12/21 – Minnesota Timberwolves vs Dallas Mavericks – 7:30PM CT
This is the second game of the Mavs/Wolves for the week. Dallas will need to make improvements playing post defense. Dallas has the talent to match up with the Timberwolves at every position. The key for Dallas will be transition offense (scoring buckets on fast breaks). Final Score: Timberwolves 91 – Mavericks 105!
12/23 – Milwaukee Bucks vs Dallas Mavericks – 7:30PMCT – TV: NBATV
This game will be a huge test for the Mavericks at this juncture of the season. The Bucks are the defending NBA champions, and they are 4th in the Eastern Conference. Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo is the player that the Mavericks will need to focus on. Stopping him will give the Mavs a chance at home, sadly I don’t think this happens. Final Score: Bucks 115 – Mavericks 92!
12/25 – Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz – 7:30 PM CT – TV: ESPN
The Utah Jazz is a very tough team at home. The Jazz are 19-7 and 9-4 at home (at the time of this article). The Jazz are very tough defensive minded team that scores easily off of turnovers. Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell is the key for the Jazz. Tim Hardaway, Jr. will need to shadow him throughout this game. He will be the x-factor for the Mavericks by playing solid defense. Final Score: Jazz 99 – Mavericks 86!
By DaVince “Dino” Wright