The Dallas Mavericks get back at it on Wednesday night when they travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies. Dallas has taken four of the last five meetings between the two teams, including the first meeting in February at the American Airlines Center.
Dallas is coming off two straight losses at home, including losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 113-95 on Monday night. Dallas, who was without Kristaps Porzingis(rest), had no answers for Joel Embiid, who scored 36 points in 26 minutes.
Porzingis is expected to play on Wednesday night.
The seventh-seeded Mavericks are 1.5 games ahead of the eighth-seeded Grizzlies and 1.5 games behind the sixth-seeded Blazers. Teams 7-10 will be involved in the Play-in Tournament.
Mavericks star Luka Doncic is not a fan of the Play-in Tournament and hopes to avoid it.
“I mean, obviously, (we’re trying) to get the sixth seed,” he said on Monday night. “I don’t understand the idea of playoff play-in (tournament), in playing two games to get in the playoffs, then maybe lose two in a row, and you’re out of the playoffs. I don’t see the point of that. We’re just trying here to get to the sixth spot, and I think that’s our goal right now. Maybe even more than sixth spot.”
Dorian Finney-Smith thinks it’s essential to get back on track against Memphis.
“We’ve got to) go back to the drawing board and figure out what we’ve got to do,” he said. “It’s a long season; we’ve got to try to get this game in Memphis.”
Regarding the Play-in Tournament, it makes something that is meaningless, meaningful. Basically, not many care what happens at the bottom of the playoff standings. With the Play-in Tournament, people care a little more, so it should stay.
After this game against Memphis, Dallas has five straight at home. However, they have been better on the road(16-12) than at home(13-12), but having five consecutive games in your building is an opportunity for Dallas to move up in the Western Conference’s standings. We’ll see if they take advantage of it!
In January, the Dallas Mavericks(28-21) went to Utah to play the Jazz(38-12) in a two-game set, and it was not pretty. Dallas was defeated by double-figures in both games, and was down by 20 points or more in both contests.
Two months later, the Jazz traveled to Dallas to battle the Mavericks on Monday, and this time, it was a much different story. Dallas had five players in double figures led by Luka Doncic’s game-high 31 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists. Also, Dorian Finney-Smith had a season-high 23 points, and Jalen Brunson added 20 points off the bench as the Mavericks defeated the Jazz 111-103.
Dallas snapped Utah’s nine-game win streak with the win, which was the longest active win streak in the NBA.
“Every win gives you confidence,” Doncic said. “Any NBA team can beat you, so every win gives you confidence. Obviously, this team is first place in the West, and so it is a big win, and we just have to keep rolling like this.”
The Mavericks are rolling right now. They have now won five straight games, marking their longest win streak of the season. Dallas has won those five games by an average of 13.8 points. In addition, the team has won 13 of its last 18 games and 20 of its last 28 games.
“I like what we’re doing,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “I like the direction that we’re going. But if you ask the guys in that locker room, they’re going to tell you we haven’t done anything yet; there’s a long way to go here. There’s a lot of ground to make up that we lost early. We’re trying to get into the top six. We’re really not looking at the standings, but we’re just looking game to game.”
Dallas was without their second-leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis(wrist), but without KP, others stepped up and got it done, which speaks to the Mavericks’ depth. Josh Richardson, who had 17 points against the Jazz, discussed how deep Dallas is this season.
“I think we have a lot of talent from the top to the bottom,” he said. “Anytime you got a guy like Tim [Hardaway], JB [Jalen Brunson], Trey [Burke], guys who can shift the whole momentum of a game coming off the bench, and that’s always a big help. I think we have the personal that anybody any night can really hurt you.”
Dallas is getting it done, and hopefully, they can get Porzingis back sooner than later, but for now, they enjoy a big win over the best team in basketball.