Tuesday, 1/14 – Mavericks @ Warriors
It sure is different to see the Warriors in last place in the West after many dominant seasons as of late. With injuries to their two stars, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, no wonder they aren’t the same this year.
The last time the Mavs and Warriors met, it was in Oakland right after Christmas. The Mavs set a franchise record for three-pointers made in a game, shooting 24/51 (47%). The Warriors shot a lot that night too, going 18/39 (46%), but that’s nothing new for them. The Mavs eventually ran away with the game scoring 141 points including a 45-point third quarter.
The two times these teams have faced-off this year were both “steamrolls”, if you will, by the Mavs. The two highest point totals for the Mavs all year have come against the Warriors with the highest back on November 20th when they dropped 142 in Dallas. Luka had a majestic 30-point triple-double in both of those games.
Matchup to watch: Keep D-Lo cold
D’Angelo Russell can get hot and if he does, it’s a scary sight for opponents. The 23-year-old is averaging 23.7 PPG, 6 APG and 3.5 RPG on the year, and doing all else that he can to keep this dynasty relevant.
“I’ve never seen a guy score 12 points in two minutes”, Carlisle said of Russell after the game last time the Mavs saw the Warriors. D-Lo dropped 35 points including starting the game going 7-7 from the field. He’s pretty darn good, so expect to see either Dorian Finney-Smith or Delon Wright following him all night.
– Darien Clark
Wednesday, 1/15 – Mavericks @ Kings
In the first meeting between the two teams in December, the Kings pulled out a close victory on the back of Nemanja Bjelica’s 30 points on 13/18 shooting. As of late, both teams have struggled. The Mavericks are 8-9 in their last 17 games, easily their roughest stretch so far this season. For the Kings, they are 5-12 in their last 17 games, including a nine-game losing streak at one point. It’s just been a disappointing season for the Kings, who almost made the leap into the playoffs last season and were hoping to contend for a playoff spot this season as well.
For the Mavs, fingers crossed that if not the Tuesday game against the Warriors, that this will be KP’s return to the Maverick lineup.
Matchup to watch: Defending Sacramento’s backcourt
Though they’ve battled through injuries, specifically De’Aaron Fox, the Kings have one of the most exciting backcourts in the league, with Fox and Buddy Hield, as well as Luka’s buddy Bogdan Bogdanovic coming off the bench. Fox may be the fastest player in the entire league and Hield and Bogdanovic can shoot it with the best of them. When this threesome gets it going, it’s tough to stop. Per usual, expect to see a lot of Dorian Finney-Smith and Delon Wright defending the likes of Fox and Hield in attempt to slow down the Kings.
– Michael Mulford
Friday, 1/17 – Trail Blazers @ Mavericks
The Blazers will face the Mavs for the first time since the controversial matchup between the teams way back on October 27th where Dorian Finney-Smith was questionably stripped on a shot attempt in the waning seconds of the game. Initially called a foul, Blazers coach Terry Stotts challenged the call and it was overturned. So instead of Finney-Smith heading to the line for two shots with a chance to give Dallas the lead, the Mavericks had to immediately foul Portland and hope for misses. The Blazers would hold on for the win and that was just the first of several instances questionable officiating has affected the Mavericks in close games this season. This is the second of just three matchups between the two teams this season. Dallas will make its lone visit to PDX on March 19th.
Matchup to watch: Does Melo still have it?
When the Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony back on November 19th after a 5-10 start, I was really skeptical about it being anything more than a desperate Portland team grasping at straws. With big man Jusuf Nurkic already out and Zack Collins suffering a serious shoulder injury in the October game against Dallas, the Blazers front line was giving them virtually nothing. So little that Melo has been able to walk off the street and immediately start each and every of the 25 games he has played for Portland this season. While Anthony hasn’t been an All-Star or anything, he has definitely been an above average starter for Portland along with their star studded backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. His 40% shooting from three is the second highest mark for a season in his career. According to basketball-reference, 40% of Melo’s shots are coming between 10 feet from the basket and to the three point line and he is hitting them at about 40%. It could be worse, but it’s far from inspiring for the type of shot that is fading away from the NBA. While Portland is just 11-14 since signing Anthony, 16-24 overall, they’re one of many teams in the West still legitimately fighting for a playoff spot.
– Dylan Duell
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