Monday – Timberwolves @ Mavericks
Minnesota is a reeling basketball team. After a decent start to the year, they have sunk to the bottom of the standings like a rock. Karl-Anthony Towns has missed a lot of time, some of their young guys haven’t made the leaps they would have hoped, and they traded away a large portion of their roster. This is a game the Mavericks should comfortably win, especially with Minnesota coming to town on the second night of a back-to-back and being without their superstar in Towns.
Matchup to watch: Slowing down Malik Beasley
Since joining the T-Wolves, Malik Beasley has been on a tear, averaging 22 points and 6.4 rebounds on 42.5% shooting from deep through his first five games in Minnesota. With Towns out, Beasley, alongside D’Angelo Russell, will be the focus for the Mavericks defense to slow down tonight.
– Reese Konkle
Wednesday – Mavericks @ Spurs
Looking back all the way to the early 2000’s, it’s odd to now see both the Mavericks and Spurs not atop the Western Conference as that’s where they had so many epic battles for a decade plus. But, things have changed, players have retired, and newcomers have taken the reigns. The Spurs, who currently sit at 24-32 and 11th in the West are in jeopardy of ending their streak of 22 straight playoff appearances. 22 years in a row. That’s insane.
Matchup to watch: Defending the three
Though they started the season out shooting the least amount of threes in the entire league, San Antonio has turned the corner in attempt to salvage their slow start and make a run at the playoffs. LaMarcus Aldridge has began stretching the floor a bit more and launching threes and doing it well, shooting 39.2% from deep.
We know what DeMar DeRozan and Aldridge bring when it comes to dominating the mid-range game but if the Spurs begin to start knocking down threes, then you could be in some trouble.
– Michael Mulford
Friday – Heat @ Mavericks
The Mavericks will be on the road in Miami Friday night taking on the heat. The Heat defeated the Mavericks on December 14th 122-118 in OT after Luka went down in the first couple of minutes with an ankle sprain. Luka is back and it is birthday as he turns 21 in south beach.
The Heat have lost three games at home the entire season, which is the third best winning percentage for home teams in the NBA. Dallas has beat the top two already this season (Philadelphia and Milwaukee) and have the fourth highest win percentage for road teams. The Heat have the highest three point percentage (40.3%), 2nd highest offensive rating (116.3) and 2nd highest net rating at home this season (10.4).
On the other hand, the Mavericks have the highest offensive rating (117.9), 2nd highest net rating (6.7) and have held opponents to the 4th lowest three point percentage on the road (34.1%).
Matchup of the night: Luka Doncic vs. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is one the best individual defenders in the league and he was quoted after the December 14th matchup that he was looking forward to the matchup vs. Luka. That matchup didn’t quite materialize. But Jimmy is a huge fan of Luka. After dropping 38 points in a win against Philadelphia, Butler shouted out Luka saying, “I felt like Luka out there.” I expect there to be a lot of fun had on the court between the superstars.
– Corey Douglass
Sunday – Mavericks @ Timberwolves
Two matchups this week between the Mavericks and T-Wolves with both teams playing host. Two teams with completely different trajectories this season. For the Mavericks, they’re fighting to move up the totem pole in the Western Conference playoff race. For the Timberwolves, they’re acclimating a new roster full of young pieces while hoping to keep their superstar Karl-Anthony Towns content in Minnesota. This should mark two victories against Minnesota this week for Dallas, but we all know that no wins are promised.
Matchup to watch: Defending D’Angelo Russell
The newly acquired point man for the Timberwolves has surely become a journeyman early in his career. Despite the fact that he has yet to find a permanent home, Russell is still a walking bucket. He’s shown that over his career that he can score from all three levels at a high clip. Earlier this season with the Warriors, he scored 35 against the Mavericks so Carlisle and company know what he’s capable of. With Towns injured, expect to see the Mavericks focus on slowing Russell down on Sunday.
– Michael Mulford
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