Tonight’s game at the American Airlines Center between the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks features two teams on completely different tragectories.
The Pacers (34-25) have won four in a row and eight of their last 10 to move into the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings and to within just a game of third-place Cleveland. Victor Oladipo has emerged as a star and made his first All-Star appearance last month.
The Mavericks (18-42) are suffering through their worst season in 20 years and have lost four in a row. Overall record aside, Dallas just endured arguably its worst week as a franchise in terms of headlines as Sports Illustrated released an article highlighting a toxic workplace, owner Mark Cuban was fined $600K for his tanking remarks on Dr. J’s House Call podcast and Dennis Smith Jr. was named in the FBI’s investigation into athletes who received money from various sports agencies while at N.C. State.
On top of it all, coach Rick Carlisle has been experimenting with starting Smith at the 2-spot alongside J.J. Barea at the point. It’s been a struggle to say the least for Dennis as he’s averaged just 10 points per game in the last two contests on 7-for-27 shooting from the field and 1-for-10 from deep.
Needless to say, Dallas is struggling … but it may not be a bad thing in terms of their lottery odds. Currently, the Mavericks have the second-worst record in the NBA, but eight teams are within two games of each other for the league’s worst mark. Every win (or loss) counts.
All Dallas and AAC staff will be wearing a Stetson-themed pin in honor of the late Don Carter, the Mavericks’ original owner tonight.
Every Mavs and AAC staffer will wear this pin tonight in honor of former Mavs owner Don Carter. His iconic white Stetson hat was part of the team's first logo. pic.twitter.com/eM13PKoyIo
— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) February 26, 2018
The Mavericks are also home on Wednesday to take on the Thunder at 7:30 p.m.
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