Can the Mavericks finally take it on the road?
Teams that can’t win on the road aren’t good enough to make the playoffs. It’s a cold hard truth, and one staring the Mavericks and their league worst road record dead in the face.
Fortunately, they are getting a Pelicans team that has lost five in a row and that they just dispatched at home the other night.
While their recent road trip netted them zero wins, the overall level of play was much, much better than it has been. Going to Denver, to LA against the Clippers, to Oracle against the Champs, and visiting the Blazers in Portland is a murders row of games for any team, but the Mavericks were competitive right down to the very end in each contest.
It feels like they are ready to kick the door in and finally capture a much needed road win against a reeling Pelicans team. Will they? We shall see.
More starters burn for Maxi?
Wednesday’s contest against the Pels had us realize what many fans had been calling for this year: Maxi Kleber in the starting lineup. With Dennis Smith Jr. sidelined by an injury and New Orleans’ burley frountcourt, it was clearly a matchup play.
While Smith is questionable tonight, Mathews is listed as out in the injury report. Given they are playing the same team, I think it’s safe to say Maxi will be a part of that first five again Friday.
He fared rather well in his start, too. As a whole the team defense was lacking. The Pelicans scored 119 points while shooting 47% from the field and 44% from three. Numbers coach Carlisle would tell you are too high.
But Maxi brought it with six blocks of his own. A couple in highlight fashion leading to oppertunities on the other end. He also added 10 points, including a couple of threes in 25 minutes.
While Rick Carlisle is notoriously reliant on his proven vets, if Maxi keeps playing the way that he has, it will be impossible to keep him off the floor and out of that lineup.
Will the Mavericks miss Wes Mathews?
Wes has been a bit of the fall guy for the fan base this season. With an injury to HB early in the season, he was thrust into an unfair role as a featured option for this team. It was bound to produce a result that nobody wanted and it left a bad taste in a lot of fans mouths.
However, since Barnes is back and returned to form, Wes has been rather productive. I would venture to say he’s playing far and away his best ball since his Achilles injury a few seasons ago. And it’s largely gone unappreciated because of some unfortunate circumstances to open the year.
I think his absence Friday could potentially reveal how valuable Wes is to this team. His reliable three point shooting and scrappy defense will be missed, but will being without it be too much to overcome?
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