Wednesday, 11/6 – Magic @ Mavericks
What to watch for:
– The Magic (2-4) are off to a slow start this season and will be on the second night of a back-to-back when they face the Mavs in Dallas on Wednesday. What stands out when looking at Orlando as a whole is that they currently are just a bad offensive team. In Steve Clifford’s second season on the Magic’s bench, their offense currently sits dead last in offensive rating at 95.5, according to Basketball Reference. They are staying competitive with their defensive effort with a defensive rating of 100.3 that ranks number 6 in the league.
– Orlando is somewhat similar to Dallas in the way that their star players (Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic) are big men and their wings and backcourt are made up of interesting, but somewhat questionable, role players. Nobody on the Magic who is attempting more than two three point attempts per game is shooting above 33%, besides Jonathan Isaac at 37%. Markelle Fultz has been intriguing so far this season with a significant role (23.2 minutes per game) but the perimeter shooting is still a major question mark with shooting just 19% from deep. The Magic as a whole are shooting just 29% from deep so far this season, a mark that puts them dead last in the NBA.
Matchup of the night: Rebounders
The Mavericks have been a slightly improved rebounding team this season, out-rebounding their opponent three times in their first six games, but there’s still room for improvement as they sit just 20th in the NBA in total rebounding. The Magic on the other hand, currently sit 7th in the league in total rebounding thanks to Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and the aforementioned Isaac. Orlando will seemingly miss a lot of perimeter shots, but the Mavericks cannot take defensive boards for granted and give up extra possessions to a Magic bunch that currently ranks sixth in the league in offensive rebounding.
– Dylan Duell
Friday, 11/8 – Knicks @ Mavericks
What to watch for:
– Friday marks the first matchup for KP against his former team, the New York Knicks. You can imagine this is a game that may be circled on his calendar, though not as much as his return to Madison Square Garden will be next week. But alas, there may be a little extra fire lit under Kristaps for this game. I’d expect the Mavs to feed KP early and often. On the other hand, it’s unknown if the Mavs will see their former first round draft pick, Dennis Smith Jr. in this matchup, as he is away from the Knicks following the death of a close family member.
– The Knicks roster is a hodge podge group of misfit veterans and unproven young players come together as one. One name that should stand out to Mavs fans is Julius Randle. The Dallas-native has always played well against the Mavericks, no matter if that was in a Laker or Pelicans jersey; he feasts on the Mavericks. Porzingis, Kleber, Powell, and company will need to have all hands on deck to stop Randle against his home team.
Matchup of the night: Luka Doncic vs R.J. Barrett
The third pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, R.J. Barrett, has proven himself early to be a front-runner in the Rookie of the Year race this season. Coincidentally enough, Friday he’ll go up against last season’s ROY in Luka Doncic. Barrett is currently playing 37 minutes per game, ranking fourth in the entire NBA while also scoring 18.3 points and grabbing 6.3 rebounds per game. The Duke product will surely have his hands full with Doncic in his first trip to Dallas but Luka can’t overlook Barrett in the Mavericks first matchup against the Knicks this season.
– Michael Mulford
Saturday, 11/9 – Mavericks @ Grizzlies
What to watch for:
– The Grizzlies are currently giving up the 6th most points per game to opponents at 119.4 ppg. The Mavericks are currently averaging 116.7 points per game so this matchup looks to sit well for Dallas. Memphis’ roster relates to the Knicks in that they have a few young pieces to be excited about and then just a bunch of “guys”. Look for the Mavericks second unit to feast in this favorable matchup.
– Rebounding will key this matchup, which seems like a theme for the Mavericks every game this season. Both the Mavs and Grizzlies aren’t elite rebounding teams, though the Mavs have been a lot better than I’d have expected so far this season.
Matchup of the night: Delon Wright vs Ja Morant
The Memphis offense runs through rookie Ja Morant, period. He’s averaging 18.8 points and 5.4 assists per game through the first five games of the season. Though Rick Carlisle’s starting lineups have been fluid and Wright has been in and out as a starter, I’d expect Wright to get the nod as a starter on Saturday in Memphis to guard Morant one-on-one.
– Michael Mulford
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