After a much needed home win against the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks will play the 2nd game of a back-to-back at home against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Thursday nights matchup is one between two teams that have not played well in April.
The Lakers are 7-10 since LeBron James went down on March 20th and 5-5 in April. Over the past 10 games, the Lakers have alternated wins and losses to get to that 5-5 record. The Lakers currently sit at the 5th seed in the West.
The Mavericks don’t have an injury excuse for their recent poor play. They have lost five of their last eight games, including losses to the Rockets, Spurs, Knicks and Kings.
Anthony Davis returns
Anthony Davis will return and play his first game since February 14th on Thursday. Davis is expected to start and play 15 minutes on a minutes restriction. Before Davis was forced to miss time, Davis was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. But Davis looked far from the player he has become over his career. He was shooting a career low 71.5% from the free throw line and shooting 29 percent from 3, which is his worst percentage since 2016.
Who can step up for Dallas
Shot making has been an issue in this recent stretch for the Mavericks. Specifically, 3-point shooting.
Last eight games:
Tim Hardaway Jr.: 16-52(30.8%)
Josh Richardson: 7-36 (19.4%)
Luka Doncic: 21-75 (28%)
Maxi Kleber: 9-28 (32%)
As a team, the Mavericks rank 28th in the NBA shooting 32.2% from three during this eight-game stretch, which if they hope to surpass Portland for the 6th seed, will have to be better.
It is almost incredible that Dallas has actually gained ground during this reason stretch. Portland has lost three in a row and 7 out of 10. However, the Mavs also find themselves in a spot where they have three teams playing well behind them so the 7 seed is not a lock. San Antonio, Golden State and Memphis have all played well recently and have fought their way back into the conversation.
Dallas is .5 games behind Portland. (Portland holds tiebreaker)
Memphis trails Dallas by 2 games. (Dallas holds tiebreaker)
San Antonio and Golden State trail Dallas by 3 games. (Dallas holds tiebreaker over SA, season series tied with GS, final matchup 4/27)
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