Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas, TX – I think it’s safe to say that there were plenty of doubters coming into the season in regards to the potential of this Dallas Mavericks (2-2) squad. Then the season started out west, and the Mavericks took 2 of 3, losing their only game to the Los Angeles Clippers (4-1), doing so without the services of Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, and Deron Williams. Despite the early momentum, the Mavericks squandered an opportunity to take down one of the Eastern Conference contenders in the Toronto Raptors (5-0), going scoreless for over four minutes in the final period. Their first “crunch time” test as a team full of new players was a massive failure, and now we are left to wonder if this is something we should get used to.
Despite that loss, the Mavericks can keep their heads high as the Raptors are the only undefeated team residing in the Eastern Conference at this time, and have beaten Indiana, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City as well. While the Charlotte Hornets (1-3) have lost 14 straight to the Mavericks in Dallas, they have faced a tough schedule to start the season. They lost once to Miami, and twice to Atlanta. Their last game was an ugly affair against Chicago, and by ugly, I mean they absolutely shellacked the Bulls 130-105.
“Obviously, we have to hold the fort down and we have to find creative ways to win,” said Wes Matthews. “Everybody’s got to step their game up. … We’ve still got a job to do, and that’s win games.”
Chandler Parsons is still working his way back to quality minutes, and it seems that this could be the case for the remainder of November. It’s difficult to watch him sitting on the bench during moments like Tuesday night in crunch time.
“I’d almost rather just play the second half, when it matters to close the game, but a team develops their rhythm and everything in the first half. You can’t just throw a guy out there in the second half and change what you were doing, so it’s difficult. I’ve never been in this situation before, and I also don’t want to just play four minutes every quarter and not be able to do anything — get a rhythm and get going. You know, I’ve got to find a way to be playing in the fourth quarter, really.”
What To Watch For:
Limit The Turnovers & Step Up On ‘D’:
The Mavericks had 15 turnovers in a physical matchup with the Raptors at home on Tuesday night. Combine that with the 6-22 shooting in the 4th quarter, and that was a wrap. The Mavericks have to be just as physical and find a way to take care of the ball.
“Everybody has got to do their job, and it’s on the defensive end,” said Matthews. “You know, we want to get out and scrambling, we want to get in our rotations, we want to finish plays with rebounds, and then we can get out and run.”
Scoring By Committee:
While Dirk Nowitzki has had no issues scoring the ball, the Mavericks are obviously going with the full team approach when it comes to scoring the ball. They are looking for a balanced attack, and I think that will continue until Wes Matthews and Chandler Parsons are going full throttle again. Nowitzki is shooting at a blistering 56% rate right now, and while the Mavericks could go to him more often, I personally like the idea of working through him to find the open shooters. The Mavericks are a much better outside shooting team than last year, and as their health improves, that should certainly start to resonate.
I think the Mavericks get a balanced scoring attack, and display a much more focused defensive attack tonight against Charlotte. While many may expect Nowitzki to lead the way, I believe it will be the new Mavericks, Wesley Matthews leading the scoring charge for the Mavericks tonight and showing why he is one of the better two way players in the NBA. Mavericks win 107-99.
How To Watch:
The Mavericks will be welcoming the Hornets tonight at the American Airlines Center on Thursday night for the second of their three-game homestand. Game starts at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
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