Following the Mavericks’ disastrous trip to Denver on Friday night, they return home to host the Sacramento Kings on Sunday afternoon at the American Airlines Center.
|Points per game leader||Luka Doncic (22.4)||Harrison Barnes (25.0)|
|Rebounds per game leader||Luka Doncic (8.6)||Harrison Barnes (10.4)|
|Team Field Goal %||.396% (last in NBA)||.454 % (10th)|
|Team Three Point Shooting %||.310% (27th)||.340% (12th)|
|Opponents Field Goal %||.452% (19th)||.444% (12th)|
|Team Defensive Rating||105.0 (12th)||111.1 (24th)|
Three things to monitor today are…
Harrison Barnes making Mavericks fans think they miss him
There’s no doubt about it, Harrison Barnes is off to a spectacular start to the season for the Kings. He’s averaging a double-double and shooting over 50% from deep on over seven attempts per game. He even has a pretty awesome buzzer beater to his name this season.
HARRISON BARNES. GOODNIGHT!!! pic.twitter.com/epKrgdVLir
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 28, 2021
One thing that needs to be made clear: this is not the player the Mavericks traded for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph back in 2019. Mavs fans hated Barnes for his inefficient shooting, his lack of an ability to create for other players and the fact that he was taking too many possessions away from the rookie version of Luka Doncic.
To be clear, I would love Harrison Barnes to be on this current Mavs team. A wing his size and with the ability to defend on the perimeter and score between 15-20 points per game if you need him to on any given night? Sign me up, even at four years, $85 million like he got in the summer of 2019. However, I’m not going to re-write history and act like the Mavs were so dumb to trade him. That is a textbook version of revisionist history and just freaking out because he is off to a great start this season.
Harrison Barnes is a very, very good NBA player. But he’s not as good as his stats through six, again… SIX, games suggest and he certainly isn’t the difference between Dallas winning the championship and being a lottery team. Just another very solid player that would leave Mavericks fans wanting more.
Can Luka Doncic play a complete game?
I wrote yesterday about how the thing the Mavericks need the most in order to jump start their struggling offense is the return of the real Luka Doncic. His poor shot selection, seeming lack of stamina and overall lackadaisical play has been very troubling through the season’s first five games. Perhaps Sunday afternoon is a chance to see that first trademarked epic Luka performance of the season.
Can the Mavericks reverse their recent struggles against the Kings?
The Kings haven’t made it to the playoffs since 2006, and haven’t been particularly close many times in the years since. However, that has not stopped them from being a thorn in the Mavs’ side in recent years.
Sacramento took all three of the matchups between the two sides last season and each loss came at a horrible time late in the season whenever Dallas was trying to move up in the playoff standings. In the end, the Mavs finished with a five seed and had to face off with the Clippers in the first round for the second consecutive season. We all know how the turned out. Ultimately, Dallas reached as high as they could in the standings (fifth) since the Clippers were a full five games ahead of them.
In any case, Dallas cannot afford to be swept in a season series against any team that eventually finishes with a losing record. If they’re going to win a playoff series this year, they need to get the highest seed possible and not play around with their food. I don’t think Sacramento is any slouch this season at all. I expect them to be in contention for at least a play-in spot all the way until the end, but this is still a team the Mavericks should take care of at home.
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