The 26-33 Dallas Mavericks finish up their two-game road trip tonight against the 33-28 LA Clippers. The Mavs enter the game on a four-game losing streak after Saturday night’s loss to the Jazz. The Clippers will be on the second game of a back-to-back set after their loss to the Nuggets on Sunday night. Dallas is currently seven games out of the eighth playoff spot and have struggled since they traded away 4 of their 5 starters. LA started the season as one of the best teams in the NBA but have since fallen back to Earth. They currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks have found themselves struggling on offense with Luka Dončić sidelined. The front runner for Rookie of The Year has missed the Mavs two games since the All-Star break ended, being out with a sore ankle. In those two games, the team has lost by 10 and 16 points while getting out rebounded by an average of 15 rebounds. Dallas really needs the big guard to come back and contribute the 20 points and 7 rebounds he has averaged this season.
Maxi Kleber sat out the last game with an illness so Dirk Nowitzki was inserted into the starting line up. Dirk then proceeded to have his best game of the year and looked comfortable while doing so. Nowitzki scored 15 points on 6 of 14 shooting, including 3 for 9 from three. It was an awesome sight to see as Dirk popped out of pick-and-rolls and knocked down his usual shots that have made him a basketball icon. He also played a season-high 25 minutes while doing so. There is no word yet on if Maxi Kleber will play tonight but maybe Carlisle should consider letting Dirk start these last few games to see how much he can improve down the stretch? Dallas fans will welcome it.
Coach Rick Carlisle pointed out rebounding as an issue for the Mavs in his press conference after the loss to the Jazz. It makes sense considering they traded away a player that was averaging roughly 15 rebounds a game for them. The Mavs rebounding has taken a big dip since the trades of DeAndre Jordan and Harrison Barnes. Dallas was averaging 45 rebounds a game before the trades. Since then they have averaged 37 rebounds. The Clippers are an average rebounding team with 45 per game, good for 17th in the NBA. Dallas will have to keep them off the glass and grab a few more of their own in order to come out ahead.
The Dallas Mavericks try to snap their four game losing streak against the LA Clippers tonight at 9:30 PM on NBAtv.
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