The Dallas Mavericks announced their 2020-21 first half schedule, which tips off on the road against Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.
The 2020-21 campaign will mark the 41st season in Mavericks history, including the club’s 20th playing at American Airlines Center. The team’s first half schedule will see it play 37 games (19 at home, 18 on road).
Eleven of Dallas’ first 16 games will be played on the road, including a three-game West Coast trip to begin the year. Following their opener against the Suns, the Mavericks will travel to Los Angeles for a Christmas matchup with LeBron James and the defending NBA champion L.A. Lakers at 7 p.m. CT on ABC. It will mark the team’s first Christmas Day game since 2011. Dallas will wrap up its opening-week road trip with a playoff rematch against Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 27, at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Dallas is scheduled to conclude its season series with six teams over the first half of the year (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Orlando and Phoenix). On the contrary, there are four clubs that the Mavericks will not face in the opening half of the season (Cleveland, New York, Sacramento and Washington).
Dallas is slated to play 16 nationally televised games during the first half of the season, including six on ESPN, four on TNT, three on ABC and three on NBA TV.
The team’s longest homestand of the first half of the season is a seven-game stretch against Golden State (Feb. 4 and 6), Minnesota (Feb. 8), Atlanta (Feb. 10), New Orleans (Feb. 12), Portland (Feb. 14) and Detroit (Feb. 17) at the beginning of February. Dallas’ longest road trip over the first half of the year will be three games (four times).
The Mavericks are scheduled to play six back-to-backs during the first half of the season. Three of those will begin on the road and end at home, one will begin at home and finish on the road, one will be road-to-road, and the other will require no travel (begin and end at home).
The second half schedule (March 11 to May 16, 2021), which will be will be released during the latter part of the first half of the schedule, will include the remainder of each team’s 72 games not scheduled in the first half as well as any games postponed during the first half that can reasonably be added to the second half schedule.
The format for the NBA’s 75th regular season will see the Mavericks play each Western Conference team three times (at least once at home and once on the road) and each Eastern Conference team twice (once at home, once on the road).
Last season, Mavericks G Josh Richardson came to the 76ers and was expected to be key piece to a championship-caliber team. Philadelphia acquired Richardson in a trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Heat. However, things did not go the way many expected for Richardson and the 76ers in the 2019-20 season.
The 76ers would get swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, and from there, the organization made changes. Philadelphia fired their head coach Brett Brown and hired Doc Rivers to replace him. Also, they brought in Daryl Morey to be the team’s president of basketball of operations. With changes in the front office and on the bench, you knew there would be changes with the roster, which included trading Richardson to the Mavericks for Seth Curry on draft day.
According to Richardson, who averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 55 games (53 starts) last season with the 76ers, he had an idea that he could get moved.
“I kinda had an idea that something was going to happen, but it was between a few teams, so I wasn’t really sure,” Richardson said via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday. “I’m really glad I ended up here. Hopefully, I can bring some positive things to this city and to this team.”
While things did not work out the way he wanted them to in Philly, the 27-year-old Richardson enjoyed his time with the 76ers, but he feels Dallas’ system will fit him better.
“I’m thankful to the city of Philly for everything they did for me and that organization,” he said. “They have great players there, so it was great to be able to play with some of the best players in the league. Coming here is going to be a different look for myself. It’s a different playstyle: I think it kind of fits me more.”
Ultimately, the fifth-year veteran believes the trade that sent him to Dallas and Curry to Philly will benefit both teams.
“I think that Seth(Curry) will fit in Philly well because he’s a great spot shooter, and I think that’s one of their big things they’ll need,” Richardson said. “I think me coming here and him going there was good for both parties, but I think a change of scenery is nice.”
This is a move that probably will benefit both teams. Philly needed shooting, and Curry fills that void, while the Mavericks needed a reliable, athletic defender, who can score, and Richardson does that for them. So, yes, Richardson is right. The Mavericks and 76ers will be happy with this move.
The Philadelphia 76ers and new president of basketball operations Daryl Morey were very busy on draft day in the NBA. According to reports, the team will send Al Horford and picks to the Thunder for Danny Green. On draft night, Philly sent Josh Richardson and the draft rights to Tyler Bey, the 36th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, to the Mavericks in exchange for guard Seth Curry.
With Richardson, the Mavericks get an athletic guard who can score a little bit and defend. The 27-year-old Richardson averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 55 games (53 starts). Richardson played four seasons in Miami before being dealt to Philadelphia as part of a four-team deal last summer. The five-year can opt out of his contract at season’s end.
The 76ers get shooting with Curry, and the six-year guard gets to play for his father-in-law, Doc Rivers. Curry is married to Rivers’ daughter, Callie. Last season, the 30-year-old Curry averaged 12.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 64 games in his second stint with the Mavericks, and more importantly for the 76ers, Curry shot 45% from three-point land.
Philadelphia is looking to reshape their roster, and you wonder if there are more moves to be made. To be able to unload the 34-year-old Horford, who signed with Philadelphia last offseason and had three-years, $81 million left on his contract, is incredible. If there was any contract that seemed unmovable, it was Horford’s deal with the 76ers. While it cost him picks, Morey got it done. We’ll see what’s next in Philadelphia, but you get the sense that Morey is not finished remaking this team.
Mavericks F Kristaps Porzingis underwent surgery to address a lateral meniscus injury of his right knee, the team announced today. The 25-year-old Porzingis suffered the injury in Game 1 of the Mavericks’ opening-round series against the L.A. Clippers on Aug. 17.
According to the team Porzingis will begin rehab immediately and there is no timetable set at this time.
This season, Porzingis averaged 20.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Clippers were finally able to put the Dallas Mavericks away and advance to the Western Conference semifinals, but it wasn’t without a fight. The Clippers led the game by as much as 23 points in the second half, but the Mavericks were able to cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter. Then, Kawhi Leonard took over.
The two-time Finals’ MVP would score on four consecutive possessions for the Clippers in the fourth quarter. He would go 4-4 with 8 points in the final quarter and finished with 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals in 40 minutes, as the Clippers defeated the Mavericks 111-97 in Game 6 to win the series 4-2. With the victory, the Clippers will play the winner of the Jazz-Nuggets series.
This was Leonard’s fifth straight playoff game with at least 30 points, marking a new career-long. According to the Clippers, Leonard is the first player in franchise history to notch at least 30 points and five steals in a playoff game.
“You can tell he was the one guy that shoots to close out a series,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He was calm. He got us in place.”
Leonard is a great player, and at times, he can be unstoppable, which Luka Doncic noted after the game.
“He is an amazing player,” Doncic said. “He shows up every game. He is hard to stop, almost impossible to stop. Like I said, he is an amazing player, and a lot of people look up to him.”
Paul George struggled at times in the series against the Mavericks, but Leonard was able to pick up the slack for the Clippers, and now Los Angeles is one step closer to an NBA title.
“You always celebrate,” Leonard said about winning their first-round series against Dallas. “You could be going home right now. It’s one step closer to where we want to get to, so it’s a good accomplishment that we got out of the first round. We enjoy it tonight, and we get ready for the next thing tomorrow.”
From top to bottom, the Clippers probably have the most talented team in the NBA. Their depth is impressive, and they have maybe the best player in the game in Leonard, so with Leonard and George leading the way, anything short of an NBA title would be a disappointment for the Clippers.
The NBA playoffs can be very physical, and the Maverick-Clippers Western Conference first-round series was just that. The Clippers would win the series 4-2 after defeating Dallas 111-97 in Game 6 on Sunday.
An interesting subplot in this series was the battle between Luka Doncic and Marcus Morris Sr. The two had altercations in Games 1 and 5. In Game 5, Morris stepped on Doncic’s injured ankle, and in Game 6, Morris was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul on Doncic in the first quarter.
Here’s the play:
Marcus Morris Sr. has been ejected following excess contact on Luka Doncic. pic.twitter.com/jP7LaSAzn4
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 30, 2020
After the game, Doncic reacted to Morris’ foul:
“It was a terrible foul,” Doncic, who 38 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in Game 6, said. “That is two games in a row that he did something like that. I really had hoped that last game it wasn’t on purpose, but looking back now after this game, I think so. I don’t want to deal with those kinds of players and just move on.”
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle added: “The play speaks for itself. If you get into speculation about previous games — you have to ask the league about that. They looked at it. As soon as this play (today) happened in real-time, I knew he was getting ejected; I knew it was a flagrant two. It’s just an unnecessary play and unfortunate.”
When you average 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game in a series, like Doncic did against the Clippers, you will be a target, and the Clippers were very physical with the second-year player, which will only help him moving forward.
Luka Doncic is becoming a legend right before our eyes. With a bad ankle and all in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Clippers, Doncic hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 135-133 victory in OT. The second-year guard becomes the youngest player in NBA history to hit a game-winning buzzer-beater in the playoffs, and with the win, the Mavericks tied the series up at 2-2.
Dallas came into the game without Kristaps Porzingis, who was a late scratch due to knee soreness. However, Doncic carried the load. The 21-year-old recorded his second-straight triple-double with 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists in 46 minutes.
After the game, Doncic explained what happened on the game-winning shot.
“I was just trying to make it,” Doncic said. “I can’t explain the emotions I had, not only when the ball goes in, but when I see the whole team running toward me. That was something special, one of the best feelings I’ve ever had as a player. Just something special.”
Doncic, who was a game-time decision after injuring his ankle on Friday, gave credit to the Mavericks’ training staff for getting him ready for the game.
“The guys here you don’t hear about did an amazing job with me yesterday,” Doncic said. “We were working almost the whole day. They were helping me out the whole time with whatever I needed. Obviously, it wasn’t 100 percent, but I think it was good.”
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlise, who played with Larry Bird and coached Jason Kidd, was impressed with Doncic’s performance on Sunday and thinks Doncic is similar to the two Hall of Famers.
“I mention Kidd and Bird,” Carlisle said. “I think both of those guys are from the same fabric competitively, in terms of their will to win and their resourcefulness to impact the game in unique forms. It’s not just about putting the ball in the basket. It’s about giving teammates confidence. It’s about knowing how to channel your emotions. Luka has gone through a lot here. Early on, we were having a lot of discussions with officials; it was draining all of our energy, and our team has grown through that stuff. We understand more and more that distractions are things that we control.
“I thought the second half, particularly Luka, did a great job of channeling his energy toward his teammates and giving them energy. Otherwise, you wear yourself out. This, today, is a game that will go down in history in some form as one of the best games a second-year player has ever played. I asked this question earlier today, when is the last time a rookie of the year was up for most improved the following year? I don’t think that’s ever happened. The work he has put in has been phenomenal as well, I don’t think there has been enough talk about that.”
Being compared to Bird and Kidd is high praise for Doncic. He is playing at an elite level right now. If he continues to play at this level, the comparisons to Bird and Kidd will continue. However and more importantly, after Doncic’s game-winner on Sunday, the Mavericks are right back in this series with the Clippers.
On Monday, the Dallas Mavericks were playing well against the Clippers in Game 1 of their first-round series. However, with the Mavericks up five in the third quarter, Kristaps Porzingis would get ejected, and from there, Dallas would struggle and fall to the Clippers.
On Wednesday in Game 2, Luka Doncic, who finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, ran into foul trouble in the second half and had to sit on the bench. However, the Mavericks’ bench played well, and Dallas would defeat the Clippers 127-114 to even up the series 1-1
Due to the foul trouble, Doncic, who recorded the most points (70) in his first two playoff games of anyone since the NBA/ABA merger, would play just over nine minutes in the second half.
“I was frustrated for like 15 seconds, and then I was focused,” Doncic said after the game. “I supported my teammates. They did a great, great job. Being on a bench is hard for me when I have my team playing. But we won the game. Maybe if I don’t take that foul, we don’t win the game. So it’s OK.”
Mavericks backup G Seth Curry came to his rescue and went 6-9 from the field for 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Also, Mavericks backup center Boban Marjanović had 13 points and nine rebounds in 10 minutes on Wednesday night.
“We brought our full energy from the beginning to the end,” Marjanović said after the game about the team’s bench. “They played well, but I think we played better in this game. Next game, we need to play super hard and give the same energy, the same spirit, and we need to believe in ourselves.”
G Trey Burke also was cooking and had 16 points on 7-11 shooting in 18 minutes off the bench, and according to Burke, the Mavericks have the talent to win this series.
“Stay together. Stay together,” Burke said about how the team reacted with Doncic on the bench. “We know he’s our go-to guy. But things happen. So we knew we had to stay together. We knew we had to continue to huddle up at all the dead balls. That’s a tough team over there with more experience than we have, but we feel like we match up great with them. We feel like we have the pieces to win this series, so tonight was a big night for us.”
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was delighted by what he saw from his bench.
“The guys off the bench did a tremendous job,” Carlisle said. “Trey Burke was great, Seth Curry was great. Boban [Marjanović] gave us great minutes tonight. It’s a group that’s had some time together during the year, during some stretches, particularly when Luka was out. They know how to play together. The other thing was we were scoring, but we were also scrappy defensively. I thought Delon Wright’s game tonight was really huge. He didn’t put up big scoring numbers, but he made a lot of influential plays defensively with deflections, making things happen offensively. Happy for him. He really didn’t get into it in the first game, but his minutes tonight were really important to us.”
The Mavericks’ bench stepped up on Wednesday night, and based on what we have seen in the first two games, this will probably be a long series.
Luka Doncic is must-see TV, and that was on full display on Saturday night in Orlando. Doncic recorded a triple-double with 36 points, 19 assists, and 14 rebounds. He dominated and led the Mavericks to a 136-132 victory in OT over the Bucks.
Late in OT, with the Mavericks up two, Doncic had the best assist of the night when he passed the ball between his legs to Maxi Kleber for a dunk plus the foul.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) August 9, 2020
After the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle reacted to Doncic’s between the legs pass.
“I clapped. I applauded. I thought it was phenomenal,” Carlisle said. “The sign of a great player — a truly great player — is the ability to pull off something like that against a team like Milwaukee that gives up virtually zero in the paint, and that leads to an and-one. That was a huge play in the game too. We’re seeing more things all the time. Luka is not only a great basketball player; he’s a great performer. I’d pay money to watch him play. I don’t say that about a lot of players, but he’s really special.”
Doncic added: “I don’t know what I did. I just did it. I didn’t think about it before, just in the moment.”
The 21-year-old Doncic is putting up NBA 2k type of numbers in Orlando. He has three triple-doubles in the bubble. In five games in Orlando, Doncic is averaging 33.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 11.6 assists per contest, and according to Carlisle, the second-year player is getting better,
“The guy is a phenomenal player, and he’s getting better by the hour, by the day,” Carlisle said. “The efficiency numbers against these two past teams are really remarkable. Both teams will turn you over. Both teams have guys that will deflect and get their hands on a lot of balls. I was most impressed with his leadership throughout the game. He kept a really calm demeanor. He kept guys playing during some tough stretches. His conversations with the officials were short and to the point. The officials listened, and we moved on. The leadership aspect of it, really in the big picture, is just as big as these ridiculous statistics that he’s putting up.”
After five games in the bubble, Doncic has probably been the MVP of the NBA restart. Doncic, who is one of the finalists for the league’s Most Improved Player Award, is playing at a high level. if he continues to play at this level for the rest of the season and beyond, we might be calling Doncic the best player in the NBA.