Mavs begin 2022-23 season in Phoenix against Suns

Last season, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks made it to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011. Next season, they hope to go even further. 

The Dallas Mavericks will begin the 2022-23 NBA season on the road with a Western Conference semifinals rematch against Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

After opening the year at Phoenix, the Mavericks will return to American Airlines Center to face Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Doncic is must-see TV, and Dallas is scheduled to play 30 nationally televised games next season.

Schedule notes:

Eleven of the Mavericks’ first 16 games will be played at home while 10 of the team’s final 16 games will occur on the road. Dallas is scheduled to play a season-high 17 games during the month of December.

The Mavericks will host Stephen Curry and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors twice in 2022-23 (Nov. 29 and March 22). LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers will also make two trips to American Airlines Center (Dec. 25 and Feb. 26), both of which will be matinee games carried exclusively by ABC. The matchup with the Lakers on Dec. 25, which is set to tip off at 1:30 p.m. CT, will mark the franchise’s third consecutive Christmas Day contest.

Reigning two-time league MVP Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets (Nov. 18 and 20), Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers (Nov. 15 and Jan. 22), and Booker and the Suns (Dec. 5 and March 5) are among the other teams set to visit Dallas twice this season.

Jayson Tatum and the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics will make their lone trip to Dallas on Jan. 5, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 2021 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks will make their sole visit to American Airlines Center on Dec. 9.

For the second year in a row, the Mavericks will play three five-game road trips (Jan. 8 to 15; Feb. 4 to 11; March 26 to April 2). The club’s longest homestand of the season is a six-game stretch (Feb. 24 to March 7) immediately following the All-Star break.

Dallas is slated to play 13 back-to-backs. Of those back-to-backs, six begin and end on the road, five are home-to-road and two require no travel (begin and end at home).

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Phoenix had no choice but to bring back Deandre Ayton

On Thursday, restricted free agent C Deandre Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million offer sheet(largest offer sheet in league history) with the Indiana Pacers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. 

However, later in the day, Wojnarowski reported that the Suns would match the offer and retain Ayton.

The fourth-year center cannot be traded before January 15 and can’t be dealt without his permission for one year.

Last season, Ayton averaged a double-double for the fourth straight season, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest. Unfortunately, the Suns, who had the best record in the NBA, fell to the Mavs in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals. In that seventh game against the Mavs, where the Suns were routed 123-90 by Dallas, Ayton scored only five points in 17 minutes of action. 

The 23-year-old was removed in the the third and did not return. Ayton appeared to have some words with Suns coach Monty Williams. After the game, when asked about Ayton, Williams said, “It’s internal.” To this point, Ayton has not addressed the situation. 

The Suns could not afford to let Ayton go without any compensation; that would have been very bad, especially when you consider Chris Paul is 37 and Devin Booker is in his prime, so Phoenix had no choice but to match the offer for Ayton.

At this point, Phoenix seemingly doesn’t have the assets to get Kevin Durant, who requested a trade and reportedly had the Suns on his list of teams he was willing to play for next season, but again, any deal with Ayton can’t be executed until January, so it appears at this point, Phoenix will be running back the team that won a league-high 64 games, which means they will have a championship contending team.

Will it be enough?

It hasn’t been the last two seasons, but they have been close. Hopefully, for them, Ayton continues to ascend, Booker continues to play like a star, and Paul continues to get the job done and stay healthy. However, the world-champion Warriors will be just as good and possibly better with the addition of James Wiseman(missed all of last season), the Clippers will have Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back; the Nuggets will have a healthy Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr to go along with MVP Nikola Jokic; LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the Lakers should be healthy, and Luka Doncic and the Mavs will be tough; it won’t be easy for Phoenix, but getting Ayton back sure helps.

The 2021-22 Dallas Mavericks exceeded expectations, but there’s more work to do

After defeating the Utah Jazz in the first of the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks 2021-22 NBA season became a success, and anything after that was gravy. After defeating the Suns in seven in the second round, they kept adding gravy to this season, but it all ended in Game 5 at Chase Center against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

The Mavs got out of the first round for the first time since they won an NBA title in 2011 and had their highest win total(52) since the 2014-15 season.

With the addition of Jason Kidd as the head coach and 23-year-old Luka Doncic as their star, the future looks pretty bright for the Mavericks. 

“I’m really proud of this team, everybody, every player, every staff member,” Doncic said after their Game 5 loss to the Warriors. “Nobody had us here. But I promise we fought until the end.”

No one had the Mavs in the conference finals, especially after they were 16-18 on December 29 and down 2-0 to the Suns in the second round, but they never gave up.

“To be able to play into May and to make it to the Western Conference finals is a great accomplishment for this team and for everyone, coaching staff included,” Kidd said after the Game 5 loss to the Warriors. “We have to go back, we’ll review the last three series and see where we can get better as coaches, and then we’ll spend time with the players this summer to make sure that they’re working on the right thing.”

The Mavs became a one-star team after trading Kristaps Porzingis away to the Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans before the trade deadline.

It was Doncic and role players, and it worked.

Kidd acknowledged that the Mavs did not have a second star, and he feels if the Mavs don’t add a second star, things still will be good in Dallas next season.

“We didn’t, so-called, have a second star; we had a team,” Kidd said. “Luka got a lot of the attention, but I think when you look at what (Mark)Cuban and Nico(Harrison) will do this summer, and (Michael Finley)Fin, they’re going to look to improve the team. I think that’s just a natural thing in sports that you’re going to try to improve, and if you can, you will, but if you don’t, you have a core here that’s pretty good.”

The Mavs biggest free agent is Jalen Brunson, who had a great season and playoff run. Brunson averaged 21.6 points per game in these playoffs. He’s going to get paid! Maybe Dallas will pay him, or perhaps somebody else will pay, but he’s getting paid in the end. Some believe around $20-plus million a year.

“I think it’s easy; it’s the top priority,” Mavericks GM Nico Harrison recently said about bringing Brunson back. “We’ve got to figure that out. Obviously, we’re not in control of it, but he’s definitely a priority. We want to re-sign him. He knows that we want him back. He’s a big part of our future.”

The Mavs have to find another star to compliment Doncic, but not sure they should pay Brunson. They still have Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr., so they can afford to let Brunson go via sign-and-trade, which could get them another piece. 

It should be interesting to see if the Mavs’ success was fool’s gold, and possibly a fluke, like last year’s Hawks, who made it to the Eastern Conference finals but brought everybody back and could not get out of the first round this season. Dallas does not want to be that, so this offseason will be significant. 

Dallas surpassed all expectations this season, but taking that next step won’t be easy.

Curry, Thompson, Green are back in NBA Finals

After three years away, the Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals after defeating the Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. 

Golden State won the series 4-1.

The NBA Finals begin next Thursday at Chase Center.

The Warriors last made the Finals in 2019 when they lost to the Toronto Raptors, and that was with Kevin Durant leading the way. 

Durant is off in Brooklyn, who got swept in their opening round series by the Celtics, while Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are on their way to the Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons.

After Durant left, things went south for the Warriors as they missed the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s been rough for the Warriors, but now they are back.

“The fact me, Klay, Draymond, from 2015 to now, six out of eight years having a chance to compete for a championship,” Curry, who had 15 points and nine assists and won the Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP, said after the win. “The feeling leaving 2019 Finals and realizing, like, we had been on an amazing journey, then got hit with a lot of adversity, some speed bumps, but never lost the faith we could get back here.”

Green, who had 17 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, added: “After being counted out, dynasty is over, all of those things. To get back here it’s fantastic. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication and to an incredible organization. We continue to stick with it, show what we’re capable of. This one feels great. But got four more wins to get.”

Thompson missed the past two years after tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals and tearing his Achilles in 2020, and he was big-time in Game 5 as he had a game-high 32 points, including eight threes. After the game, Thompson was emotional, and he explained why.

“Just such a surreal feeling,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to put into words, really. This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful. All those emotions kind of rushed through me, and I thought about our training staff, I thought about Rick Celebrini, I thought about Steve, I thought about those days me and Rick were together in Santa Cruz, and I was in a terrible mood.

“We were together in the summertime. All those long days. They would tell me it would pay off. It was hard to see that at the time. Now to actually be here, I can feel it paying off.”

Golden State is back, and they are playing at a high level. Plus, they will have homecourt advantage in the Finals. In addition, the Warriors could get back Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II.

However, they have to still win four more games. Based on the way they’re playing right now, the Warriors will be the favorites and will be tough to beat.

Mavs’ Kidd: ‘We know going into Golden State it’s a tough place to win, but we’ve won there before’

The Dallas Mavericks kept their season alive after defeating the Golden State Warriors at home 119-109 in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

Golden State still leads the series 3-1, and Game 5 is Thursday at Chase Center.

Dallas had their largest lead of 29 points in the third. However, the Warriors would cut the lead to eight in the fourth, but the Mavs were able to hold them off.

It was a team effort as the Mavs, who had six players in double figures and had 30 assists, were led by Luka Doncic’s 30 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, two blocks, and two steals, and Dorian Finney-Smith added 23 points.

They still have to win three more games to win this series, but Doncic still has hope.

“I still believe we can win, you know. Swept or not swept,” Doncic said. “In the end, if you lose, you lose. Don’t matter how many we win. We have to go game by game. We going to believe until the end…

“We got more to do, you know. This is nothing. We got three more. We have to go game by game and believe.”

Finney-Smith felt the Mavs played like a desperate team in Game 4.

“Everybody in that locker room feel like we have more basketball to play,” he said. “We just wanted to get the win by any means necessary, and I feel like we came out desperate that first half.”

It’s a make-or-miss league, and the Mavs made shots Tuesday night as they hit 20 threes for the fourth time this postseason and shot 50% from the floor. 

“Yeah, we’ve felt all along we’re getting great looks,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “Sometimes they go in; sometimes they don’t in this series so far. It’s a matter about making shots.”

No team has ever come back after being down 3-0, but the message from Kidd is to take it one game at a time.

“We believe it’s just one game at a time,” Kidd said. “We did our part tonight. We found a way to win. The next part is to find a way to win on the road. Again, we can’t get ahead of ourselves. It’s still 3-1. We know going into Golden State it’s a tough place to win, but we’ve won there before.”

The odds are still against the Mavs, but anything can happen.

Notes:

-The Warriors, who had seven players in the double figures, were led by Stephen Curry’s 20 points, marking his 100th 20-point game in the postseason. He became the 16th player to record 100-or-more 20-point games in the playoffs.

Reggie Bullock had 18 points on 6-10 shooting from deep. Bullock tied his career-best of 6 3-pointers, when he had a playoff career-best 21 points (Game 2 at GSW).

Jalen Brunson recorded 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists tonight. This was Brunson’s fourth game with 15-5-5 in the postseason, with all of the instances coming this year.

Maxi Kleber went 5-6 off the bench for 13 points, while Spencer Dinwiddie added 10 points and a playoff career-best-tying 8 assists off the bench.

-The game was delayed 16 minutes before the third quarter as water came through the roof at American Airlines Center.

Antetokounmpo, Jokic, Doncic headline First-Team All-NBA

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum have been selected to the 2021-22 All-NBA First Team, the league announced Tuesday.

The All-NBA Second Team consists of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, and Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan.

The 2021-22 All-NBA Third Team is composed of Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James , Suns guard Chris Paul , Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.

Antetokounmpo was the only player to receive All-NBA First Team votes on all 100 ballots (500 total points), earning his fourth consecutive selection to the First Team and sixth All-NBA Team honor overall (First Team, Second Team and Third Team).  This is the third All-NBA First Team selection each for Doncic and Jokic, the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player.  Booker is making his debut on the All-NBA Team, and Tatum joins Booker as a first-time selection to the All-NBA First Team.

With the selection of Antetokounmpo (27 years old), Doncic (23), Jokic (27), Booker (25) and Tatum (24), the All-NBA First Team is made up entirely of players age 27 or younger for the first time in 67 years (1954-55 season).

Embiid, the 2021-22 NBA scoring champion, has been named to the All-NBA Second Team for the fourth time in the last five seasons.  Morant, the 2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player, is an All-NBA Team honoree for the first time.  This is the 10th All-NBA Team selection for Durant, the eighth for Curry and the third for DeRozan.

This is the second All-NBA Team honor for both Towns and Siakam and the first for Young.  James has extended his NBA record for most All-NBA Team selections to 18.  Paul has been voted to the All-NBA Team for the 11th time, the second-most selections among active players behind James.

Doncic on Wiggins: ‘I wish I had those bunnies’

Andrew Wiggins had an outstanding performance in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday night. Wiggins had a playoff career-high 27 points and a career playoff-high-tying 11 rebounds as the Warriors defeated the Mavs 109-100 to take a 3-0 series lead. 

Wiggins also had the play of the night and maybe the playoffs.

In the fourth quarter, Wiggins drove to the lane and hammered home a one-handed dunk over Luka Doncic.

Watch below:

Initially, an offensive foul was called on Wiggins, which was reviewed and overturned.

After the game, Wiggins reacted to his big dunk.

“Just feeling the energy,” he said. “You know, that was the main thing when I seen the rim, that’s all I seen. They tried to take it away from me, but Steve challenged, and we won. Thank him for that.

The victim of Wiggins’ dunk, Doncic, was impressed by what he saw.

“I mean, I got hit a little bit, but that was impressive, I’m not going to lie,” Doncic said. “I saw the video again; I was like, ooh. That was pretty incredible. I wish I had those bunnies.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was amazed by the dunk.

“Yeah, it was an amazing dunk,” Kerr said. “We’ve seen Wiggs do that before where if he gets a head of steam and he gets that two-foot jump, he’s so explosive. I was surprised at the call but glad we had the challenge left.

Draymond Green added: “Absolutely incredible. He’s been attacking like that. That’s always our battle cry to him, forget laying the ball up; go dunk. He’s been attacking like that all playoffs. He got a couple posters these playoffs. That one was on Luka, so it just means more. When you get a poster on a superstar like that, it means just a little bit more. So it was incredible.”

The dunk was memorable, but more importantly, the Warriors are one game away from the NBA Finals.

Watch below as Doncic reacts to Wiggins’ big dunk:

Doncic: ‘I think the Warriors are playing incredible’

The Golden State Warriors are one game away from the NBA Finals after defeating the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 in Game 3 Sunday night at American Airlines Center.

The Warriors lead the series 3-0, and Game 4 is Tuesday night in Dallas.

No team in NBA history has won a series down 3-0.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 31 points (5-10 3FG), five rebounds, and 11 assists, and Andrew Wiggins had a career playoff-high 27 points and a career playoff-high-tying 11 rebounds.

Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with a game-high 40 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. 

Doncic did his job Sunday night, but things fell apart in the third as the Warriors outscored the Mavs by nine in the quarter and had their largest lead of 14. 

According to Doncic, the Warriors have excellent continuity, which has made things difficult for the Mavs.

 “I think the Warriors are playing incredible,” Doncic said. “Everybody knows their role. Everybody just stays together. They’re a long-built team. They’ve been together for a long time, and I think they’re playing good basketball, so that’s what I think is going to be really difficult, and these past three games, it’s been very difficult.”

The Warriors killed the Mavs on the glass. Golden State outrebounded Dallas 47-34 and had 18 second-chance points. Kevon Looney had a game-high 12 rebounds. Doncic gave Looney a lot of credit, but he feels the Mavs have to do a better job on the boards going forward.

 “I think, like I say, the rebounding. We’ve got to be way better. We’ve got to be more physical. It’s really tough with Looney; he’s an unbelievable player. He’s very underrated. Nobody talks about him. But I think he’s been doing an amazing job, and it’s tough with him. He’s a strong dude, and he helps them a lot. He’s a great role player, and we’ve got to do a better job boxing him out.”

Mavs coach Jason Kidd added: “Yeah, we just have to be physical and make contact to keep them from crashing. A lot of times, they hit us too late, and so when you’re playing small, we have to just — we’ve got to hit; first, we can’t hit second.”

This series is probably over. However, the sentiment from the Mavs is they have to take it one game at a time. 

 “One game at a time,” Spencer Dinwiddie, who has 26 points off the bench, said. “I mean, that’s really it.”

Jalen Brunson, who had 20 points, added: “One game at a time, plain and simple. That’s all we have, one game at a time.”

No matter what happens the rest of the way, the 2021-22 NBA season is a success for the Dallas Mavericks, but it would be nice to get one game in this series, and we’ll see if they can get that one in Game 4.

Warriors’ Kerr on Game 3: ‘Loon(Looney) was just brilliant, again’

The goal for the Dallas Mavericks was to steal one of the first two games on the road against the Warriors in their Western Conference finals matchup.

The Mavericks were routed in Game 1 but looked like a much different team in Game 2. The Mavericks got an 18-point first quarter from Luka Doncic, who ended the game with 42 points, and they also got 31 points from Jalen Brunson. 

The Mavs led by as many as 19 points and had a 72-58 lead at the half, but the “others” stepped up for the Warriors. 

Kevon Looney scored 11 of his career-high 21 points in the third and 12 rebounds, Jordan Poole added 12 of his 23 points in the fourth, and their star, Steph Curry, added 10 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth as the Warriors defeated the Mavs 126-117 at Chase Center.

The Warriors now lead the series 2-0 as the series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Sunday night.

After the game, Kerr gave the credit to Looney, Curry, Moses Moody, Otto Porter, and Poole.

“Loon(Looney) was just brilliant, again,” Kerr said. “He’s had a fantastic playoff run. He’s incredibly underrated by everybody. You know, he switches onto guards, and he rebounds, he sets screens, and in a series like this, it’s so spread out, he’s able to score some buckets in the paint as well. I thought Loon was just brilliant.

“I thought a lot of guys came in and really played well. Obviously, Steph got going. Jordan Poole’s second half was fantastic. Otto played a great game, and Moses Moody came in and gave us huge minutes in that fourth quarter. Great team effort, but it was really all about getting things under control and getting more poised out there.”

Looney became the first Warriors center to score 20-plus points and grab 10-plus rebounds in a playoff game in over 40 years.

“Playing center for the Warriors, it’s a different type of job from other teams,” Looney said. “A lot of the scoring and stuff, we don’t really need us to do. It’s a lot of screen setting and a lot of playmaking and doing different things. For me, to have a game like that is cool. Something I’ll always remember. But it’s a lot of work to do still. I’ll definitely enjoy tonight. I’m going to remember that stat, so I can tell somebody else about it.”

Doncic, who came into Game 2 battling a shoulder injury and an illness, says Mavs have to move on.

“We were up 20 or 19, so it’s a tough situation,” Doncic said. “We can’t look back. What happened happened, so we’ve got to move on.”

In the second round, the Mavs were down 0-2 against the Suns and ultimately won in 7. According to Reggie Bullock, who added 21 points, the Mavs have to what they did against the Suns, and that’s sweeping the next two games in Dallas.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Bullock said. “We were just in it last series. Going back home, we’ve got some of the best fans in the world. They’re going to be there to support us. They’re going to give us a lot of energy. We have to go out there with a great mindset to pull away two at home and be back here in San Fran to be able to compete for Game 5.”

We’ll see if the Mavs can pull off another remarkable comeback in this series. It’s possible, but the Warriors seem like a different animal. This series is not over, and it should be interesting to see what Dallas offers in Games 3 and 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luka and the Mavs are still confident after Game 1 loss to Warriors

The Golden State Warriors brought the defensive energy in Game 1 of their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks. 

Behind the defense of Andrew Wiggins, Golden State held Luka Doncic to 20 points on 6/18 shooting from the floor, including 3/10 from deep. The Mavericks shot only 36% from the field, including 22% from downtown, and they fell to the Warriors 112-87 at Chase Center Wednesday night.

Game 2 is Friday night at Chase Center. 

Golden State led by as many as 30 points and had seven guys in double figures, led by Steph Curry’s game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds. 

The Warriors are second in opponents’ field goal percentage(43%) in the playoffs, so you knew they would not make it easy for Doncic and the Mavs. 

“Just make him work, that was the main thing, 94 feet, just make him work, pick him up, make everything tough for him,” Wiggins, who added 19 points, said about guarding Doncic after the win. “He’s a good player, great player, so he’s going to make shots. He’s going to do his thing but just stay on him, make it tough.”

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added on Wiggins’ defense against Doncic: “I thought Wiggs was fantastic. Doncic is as difficult a cover as there in this league, and we just asked Wiggs to try to hound him and guard him as best as he could, stay in front, and try to keep the pressure on him, and he did a fantastic job. Wiggs is just a huge part of our defense and our team. I thought he was great offensively as well. So great night for Andrew.

Doncic agreed with Kerr and felt the Warriors played well against him on the defensive end, but according to Doncic, he has to be better.

“Yeah, they were doing a great job on me, especially in the second half,’ Doncic said. “But I think I’ve got to be better. That’s on me. As a leader, I’ve got to be better for the whole group, so that’s on me.”

The Mavericks have been in this position before. Dallas lost Game 1 in the first two rounds of the playoffs and trailed 2-0 to the Suns in the second round of the playoffs, so there’s no panic with this team. As he walked off the court at the end of the game, Doncic had a smile on his face.

“Like I say, I said in the Phoenix series, we’re going to believe,” he said. “So the confidence is the same. It’s tough to win every game, so some you’re going to lose. But the confidence stays the same”

Dallas could not make shots, but their head coach Jason Kidd was happy with his team’s looks and is confident they could make those shots in Game 2.

“There were a lot of great looks that just didn’t go down,” Kidd said. “It happens. It’s basketball. Hopefully, we get those same looks in Game 2, and we believe we’ll make them.”

Obviously, this series is far from over, and great players like Doncic find ways. The Mavs have to throw this one away, make adjustments, and get ready for Game 2.