Monday – Mavericks @ Thunder
Hearts will certainly be heavy tonight in OKC following the loss of Kobe Bryant on Sunday. Both teams had yesterday off, giving them some time to mourn the loss of one the NBA’s greatest to ever play. In regards to the game, the Thunder are right on the Mavericks heels as they currently sit as the 7th seed in the West and playing their best basketball of the season, winning 17 of their last 22 games, including five in a row.
Matchup to watch: Defending OKC’s backcourt
The Thunder have a three-headed monster in the backcourt in Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder, who combine for 55.7 points per game. In their last meeting, the Thunder came back and stole the game from Dallas on the back of Chris Paul in the fourth quarter. He may be up there in years but CP3 can still get it done in the clutch, which is where the Mavericks have struggled this season. Defend these three well, specifically in the fourth, the Mavericks should go home with a W.
– Michael Mulford
Tuesday – Suns @ Mavericks
The Mavs and Suns are meeting for the first time since November 29th in Phoenix when Dallas came out victorious 120-113. The Suns started out the season pretty nicely (7-4 on November 14th), went ice cold for an extended stretch (an eight game losing streak dropped them to 11-20 at one point in late December), and they’ve been pretty more or less treading water ever since as they enter the week at 19-27 and three games back of the eighth seed in the crowded West standings. Of course, Phoenix had to deal with the 25 game suspension of 2018 number one overall pick DeAndre Ayton, but plenty of other important pieces of their team have missed more than a handful of games as well. The Suns won’t have the worst record in the league this season, but it’s still hard to tell if they’re taking any significant long-term steps forward based on their roster construction.
Matchup to watch:
The Suns currently sit at number two overall in the league with 27 assists per game. The addition of longtime starting point guard Ricky Rubio, currently second in the league with 9.0 assists per game, certainly helped, but the vision of star Devin Booker has helped boost that assist number as well. While Booker is always hailed for his sharpshooting and elite scoring ability, his ability to create for others is often lost in the fold. With 6.4 assists per game, Booker is one of the toughest players to defend in the league with such a dual threat to score/create.
– Dylan Duell
Friday – Mavericks @ Rockets
The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks play a similar style of basketball. Both teams want to shoot a bunch of threes. As it stacks up today, the Mavs are #1 in three pointers made and the Rockets sit at #2. However, as far as percentages go, the Mavs sit at #8 and the Rockets sit at #20. Whoever is able to make threes consistently will determine who wins this matchup. In the first matchup where Dallas won, the Mavs made 17 threes compared to Houston’s 10. Both teams shot 44 three point attempts.
James harden is dealing with a thigh injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game against Denver and is also expected to keep him sidelined for Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz. So, I would expect his status for Friday’s game to be determined closer to game day.
Matchup of the night: Boxing out Capela
With 2019-2020 Mavericks, it feels like the matchup of the night always involves the big man of the opposing team vs. the undersized Mavs. This matchup with the Rockets is no different going against Clint Capela. Last time the teams faced off, Capela scored 21 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. Recently acquired Willie Cauley-Steins could be a factor in this game, although his role with the Mavs is yet to be determined.
– Corey Douglass
Saturday – Hawks @ Mavericks
The two teams involved in the Luka-Trae trade from the 2018 NBA Draft will surely be linked forever and are certainly on different paths this season. For the Mavericks, they’re fighting for a potential top 4 seed in the playoffs. For the Hawks, they have the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second worst record in the entire league. Though they have All-Star starter Trae Young, who is averaging 29.5 points and 8.9 assists per game, as a complete unit, especially on the defensive end, the Hawks continue to struggle.
Matchup to watch: Luka vs Trae
See above. This one is obvious and the two will continue to be linked together throughout their careers.
– Michael Mulford
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