Welcome to our weekly edition of who’s rising, who’s falling? Every Monday morning, we will take a look at which players on the Mavs have had a hot or cold past week and, if you’re a fantasy player, who’s stock you should buy going into the week. Check here every Monday for the latest.
The Past Week:
The Mavs finished off their 3 game road trip on Monday with a win in a 110-108 thriller against the New York Knicks at the historic Madison Square Garden. Dirk Nowitzki hit a vintage fade away shot that took an awkward bounce before rolling in as the buzzer sounded, securing the Mavs win. The Mavs then traveled back to Dallas for a Wednesday night matchup against the Pelicans that aired nationally on ESPN. Dallas easily defeated NOLA (who was out their star big man Anthony Davis) as they cruised 108-89. Dallas then had their 2nd and final game of their home stand against the surging Chicago Bulls who handed the Mavs an unexpected offensive showing as they defeated Dallas 100-91. The Mavs finished out their 4th game in 7 days on Sunday against the in-state rival San Antonio Spurs. Although Dallas was able to hang around for most of the game, they could really never put the pieces together as they fell 112-106 to make it 2 straight losses. With the two losses, the Mavs went from 6th to 8th in the brutal Western Conference standings; only 1 ½ games up on the Memphis Grizzlies.
One of the few bright spots this week as been the much improved play of the guard that never ages… Mr. Vince Carter. The 37 year old came out on fire Monday against the Knicks, hitting 7 three’s and raking up 23 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds in the process. The Mavs are now 6-1 when VC25 scores at least 23 points in a game. Carter then followed his play up with a good 17 points on just 9 taken shots on Wednesday while only playing limited time since the game was over fairly early. Carter then had a bit of a slide on Friday as he scored 15 points but needing 14 shots to do so (going 5-14 from the field). He did contribute with a decent 7 rebounds and 3 steals but also gave up 16 points and 8 rebounds to Mike Dunleavy Jr. (his main matchup) in the process as the Mavs defense as a whole was out rebounded and out hustled. Carter finished up the week in San Antonio with an excellent performance; contributing 21 points and 5 rebounds with 4 assists in the game. All of Carters performances this past week were above his season averages (with the slight exception of rebounds) and the veteran does seem to be on the upswing momentum wise. If he can retain his hot streak going into the week, he should be able to help out tremendously with the Mavs and Tim Macmahon of ESPNDallas.com pointed out in his column this week, Carter might be able to force himself into the 6th man of the year conversation given the lack of real frontrunners this late in the season. That might be a little farfetched but there really are no limitations to Carter coming off the bench as long as he continues to fill his role.
Right when it seemed Harris was emerging as a consistent scoring threat he was humbled by this past week’s performances. Harris started out Monday night only picking up 14 minutes, collecting 2 points but a nice 8 assists in the process. Harris had one of his worse shooting nights in the season the game after against New Orleans, going 1-7 from the field and collecting only 3 points and 4 assists despite playing 22 minutes. The backup combo guard then went into Friday looking to capitalize being matched up with the likes of DJ Augustine and the struggling Kirk Hinrich but helped give up over 25 points to the two guards combined as Harris shot 0-3 from the field for 2 points. Harris did have an increase in scoring on Sunday, but it certainly wasn’t in an efficient manor to say the least, collecting 8 points on 9 shots in over 21 minutes to play. For the week, Harris shot an abysmal 4-22 from the field (18%) and an even worse 1-8 from the 3 point line (12.5%). Harris has been playing somewhat solid defense (with some big exceptions being made) but this past week he was almost a non-factor when it came to scoring the ball. If Harris continues to perform like this, he will be forcing Rick Carlisle’s hand in maybe looking to play rookie Shane Larkin (who just came off a 22 point-10 rebound-6 assist game in the NBA D-League on Saturday) over him. Harris however shouldn’t be underestimated as he has proven himself in this league to be a legitimate scoring threat; the extent to which he will be able to score is simply up to Harris. This next week will be big in determining how exactly the back up PG position will play out in terms of minutes if Harris improves or continues his back slide.
This Week Ahead:
The Mavs only have 3 games on their schedule this week. Their first game is on Wednesday in Denver to take on the Nuggets in a nationally televised game on ESPN. The Mavs then finish out the week with a 2 game home stand against two elite teams in Portland (Friday) and Indiana (Sunday). The Mavs definitely have a tough week ahead and they will need players to either stay hot (like Carter) or get hot (Harris) if they want to stand a chance against this tough competition.