The predictions is back after a week and a day. You may have thought we were defeated by a disastrous week in which we missed both games (Indiana and Charlotte) and yes, my wife did leave me. But no, I am unbowed.
It was just busy and stuff, for a while there.
The predictions are 8-4, but in my head, since obviously I would have predicted losing to Miami and beating Philly, Detroit and the Knicks, we're 12-4.
There's no proof that I made those predictions, so it doesn't really count, but then I remembered that I make the rules of this universe, so I decided it does count, and we're 12-4. Pretty amazing, guys. I am pretty amazing. I also have surprisingly long eyelashes for a man.
Anywho, the Mavs have three more games this week, and they're important ones. Given what the standings look like, which is basically a four-team race for the 6th-9th seeds. Given that the first half of March is a fun little @ San Antonio, @ Denver, vs. Portland, vs. Indiana, @ Golden State, @ Utah and @ Oklahoma City jaunt, you probably want to stash a couple wins in your pocket first. Let's get to it.
Games this week: @ NOH on Weds, vs. CHI on Fri, vs. SAS on Sunday
Prognosis for this week: Good!
The Mavs have been taking care of business. Yes, they remain absolute geniuses at getting scored on really quickly at the end of games. When people usually say no lead is safe they don't mean it quite as literally as is true of this season's Mavs. Take your Knicks game. With a six point lead and 1:27 left, if the Mavs had literally just fallen on the ball as soon as they crossed halfcourt and lain in an unmoving pile until the shot clock buzzer sounded, they would have left the Knicks 39 seconds to make two three-pointers. Instead, Monta Ellis gave up an offensive foul, which resulted in an and-one for Tyson Chandler, followed by a Monta turnover and a Carmelo three. All of which happened while there was still :50 seconds left. It couldn't have happened, but of course, it did.
Nevertheless, the Mavs have won all but two games in the month of February and are 10-3 since January 26th. So, you know, sure, maybe they've turned my arteries into hardened, plaque-lined caves with their inability to hold leads, but they sure have ended a lot of games WITH leads regardless.
New Orleans: Look, we all love that the Pellies are apparently being run by R.L. Stine. While Pierre the Pelican might be nightmare fuel, this guy literally crawled out of some dark Lovecraftian welterworld. And they have leagues of talent. Anthony Davis is going to be the #1 fantasy basketball pick up for years to come, and with young guys like Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson to boot, they have a lot going on. But they've been hit hard by the injury bug (which, one suspects, may be more or less how they like it). And they've lost four straight, and six of their last seven, beating only the Milwaukee Bucks by a total of just four points.
They are not, as currently constituted, any good. So look for the Mavs to score 35 points in the first half but slowly pull away in the second.
Chicago: If you're a good defensive team with a decent offense, you can probably beat the Mavericks. That's kind of their kryptonite. But Chicago is a really good defensive team who is just like the worst offensive team imaginable.
This is how bad the Chicago Bulls offense is. Their leader scorer is Luol Deng at 19 a game, which is great, but he's now a Cavalier. Their second leading scorer, 3.1 whole points behind, is Derrick Rose, who, of course, died years ago and is being kept alive by steel drum music or whatever. The leading scorers who actually exist are Carlos Boozer and D.J. Augustin, which is like cartoonishly bad. Like, NBA GMs sit around and they're like, "what's the worst that could happen? I guess D.J. Augustin could be one of my top two scorers."
That being said, the Bulls have won five of their last six. That also being said, it was against the Lakers, Atlanta, Brookyln, Toronto and Denver. I do not think they can keep up with the Mavs offense. If they come close, it'll be because of what their defense can do to the Mavs offense.
Honestly, with the sole exception of that one Pacers game, the best teams in the league have absolutely pantsed the Mavs this season. That last 11-point loss to Miami keeps company with a 22-point loss to the Spurs on Jan. 8th, a nine-point one on December 26th, a 14-point loss to OKC on Nov. 6th, and a six-point loss to Miami on Nov. 12.
It would be a nice win. And the Spurs have fallen on comparative hard times lately, losing to Brooklyn, Detroit and Phoenix in the last few weeks. But it's pretty hard to see.
Prediction: Mavs go 2-1, chaos reigns