As far as we are concerned, Saturday’s contest against the Toronto Raptors is the first game of the year. That’s how bad Tuesday’s showing against Atlanta went.
Jokes aside, I’m sure the team is chomping at the bit to get back out there.
Here are a couple things to look for during the game:
Can the offense find some rhythm?
The last two seasons the Mavericks have boasted one of the best offenses in basketball.
Thursday night in Atlanta looked nothing of the sort.
The shotmaking? Awful. The spacing? Dreadful. The ball movement? Non-existent. The play calls? Thoughtless.
It might sound like I’m exaggerating for effect, but I’m not. I hope I never have to watch a Mavericks game that ugly for the rest of my life.
Tonight is a great chance to right the ship.
Can the Mavericks get their newcomers more involved?
It was a relatively quiet offseason again for the Mavericks. No home run signings or trades, but they did make some clever moves in the margins to make their team better, most notably swapping Josh Richardson for Reggie Bullock & Sterling Brown.
Both of these guys can really shoot the ball & defend across multiple positions, extremely valuable traits in today’s league.
But they were conspicuously absent from Thursday night’s contest. The two played only a combined 26 minutes and got up just eight three-point field goals.
It was an extremely tough game for everyone to be fair, but getting these two comfortable should be a priority. I expect it to come with time, but they desperately need these guys to make an impact and soon. The Western Conference waits for nobody.
Can they get Luka going?
Perhaps the least disappointing aspect of the game was Luka’s performance. Not that he played well, because he certainly did not, but because he’s become a constant. We know exactly what he’s going to provide every night.
An 18-11-7 line in a blowout loss will certainly qualify as one of his worst games of the year, but Luka being a slow starter has become a bit of a trend now. Think back to both last year, his rookie season, & even his first game in the bubble.
Surely he will shake it off soon, but Toronto is an extremely tough defensive squad. OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher, Fred VanVleet, etc… We could go on, but you get it: They’re talented on that end.
Will it he cause for alarm if they stifle Luka? Nah, especially considering how messy the Mavs looked on offense. But the quicker 77 gets going, the quicker the Ws start to flow.
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