The Dallas Mavericks enter the month of March 36-24 after a tough loss to the Miami Heat on Luka Doncics 21st birthday Friday night. They finished the month 7-5. With Dallas comfortably in a playoff spot, the last month and a half will be about establishing momentum heading into the playoffs and if they can sneak into the 4th seed.
Currently, they are 3 1/2 behind the Houston Rockets for that 4th seed with two home matchups remaining against the Rockets.
The Mavs have 15 games in March and 9 of those are against teams currently below .500. They have 8 home games and 7 road games.
Kristaps Porzingis found his rhythm
The second Luka ankle sprain is appearing to be a blessing in disguise for the unicorn and the Mavs. In the month of February, Porzingis played 9 games and averaged 25.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game shooting 48% from the field. Those numbers surpass any averages he’s had to this point in the season.
The questions about him and Luka playing together should finally be silenced as the team is 4-1 in games they have both played in since Luka’s return. KP is averaging 23.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in those contests.
Mavs vs. current playoff teams
A trend that has developed throughout this season is the Mavs lack of success against playoff teams/teams above .500. In February, Dallas went 1-3 against current playoff teams with the only win coming against the Indiana Pacers on February 3rd.
For the season, the Mavs are 9-15 against teams above .500, which is the 2nd worst among playoff teams in the West. (Only Memphis has a worse record. 8-19)
The bench has been trending in the wrong direction for a couple of months now.
Since January 1st, the Mavs are scoring 38.9 points off the bench (13th in the NBA) and have a plus/minus of -0.7 (18th) after scoring 42.3 bench points per game (tied for 5th) the first two months of the season. In February, the bench ranked 19th in scoring and had a negative +/- for the month.
I think there are a couple of factors that have played into the benches downfall. The number one reason is health. The injury to Luka and multiple other guys missing a handful games has forced guys like Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson (before he got hurt) into the starting lineup and left the bench thin.
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