The Dallas Mavericks (26-31) return to play the Nuggets (39-18), following the All-Star break. An All-Star break that was well represented by Dirk and Luka during the many festivities of the weekend. Fans had more than enough to watch with Dallas in every event except the Dunk contest (post-trade tears). With the talent growing in the organization the All-Star weekend looks to be a regular thing for Doncic, this might have been the official passing of the torch.
Denver at full strength
The Nuggets will most likely still be missing Trey Lyles and Porter Jr. but they should have Harris and Milsap back in the lineups tonight. Harris has the ability to take over games with his shooting that stretches the defense making him a deadly combo with Nikola Jokic.
Recently making his way back into the lineup is Isaiah Thomas. Once an MVP candidate in Boston, he has never been the same since his hip injury and being traded. If he can somehow regain some of that 2017 swagger when he averaged 28 points and 5.9 assists, he could be the “X” factor for the Nuggets this postseason. When considering the many injuries Denver has dealt with this season their record is truly impressive, they might be the deepest team in the league.
Dirk rides off in the sunset
Dirk had a memorable All-Star weekend, coaching the World team and knocking down threes in both the three-point contest and All-Star game. Off the court, he seemed to have a blast playing “Name that tune” or the “Whisper challenge” with Luka. The duo were fan favorites in Charlotte and it’s easy to see why.
Dirk has yet to confirm this is his last season but in all likelihood, we are watching the final games of the Big German on the court. He can still catch Wilt Chamberlin, he can still add to his All-time Maverick records, and he can still shoot the three. With Vegas giving the Mavs playoff odds at 2.8%, it seems fair to let Dirk go out with a bang. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him starting games here soon or at least the home games, he’s earned that much.
So far, so good
With only 24 games remaining this season, the Mavericks have already surpassed their win total of 24 from last year. Most analysts had the team not winning more than 30 games this season let alone having a shot at the 8th seed. With the rising star of Doncic and the additions of new young talent including Kristaps Porzingis, the teams future looks bright.
The team may not be playing in May this season and that’s okay. A successful season is measured by many variables and for the most part, this year has been a great year for the organization. The AAC has not had this type of energy since the 2011 season and the home record 20-9 proves that. By all accounts, this is more of a leap than anyone could have expected, with an outside shot at still making the playoffs. The second half of the season and final playoff push for the Mavs starts tonight against one of the top teams in the NBA.
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