David vs Goliath. Bambi vs Godzilla. 2016 Mavericks vs 2016 Spurs. Which one of these are not like the other?
None, suckers. They’re all the same thing.
In an infinite list of parallel universes, there are probably twelve where the Mavs win tomorrow. The Spurs are rolling in on a five-game winning streak featuring a potential MVP contender in Kawhi Leonard. The Mavericks are coming off a five-game losing streak where their best player is probably Harrison Barnes, but their best player at the moment is a guy who played his second game ever at the age of 29 (anything is possible!).
Here are the keys for the Mavericks as they seek get their third win of the year:
Play with 6 players on the court Someone puts in a cheat code
If the Mavericks show up and play poorly, the good guys will get embarrassed.
If the Mavericks show up and play to their averages, the good guys will lose.
If a Maverick exceeds his average play by two standard deviations-plus, the bizarro universe is in play. We’re talking about 45 on 30 shots from Harrison Barnes. A double-digit threes made game from Matthews might qualify.
One fun unlikely source would be the Jonathan Gibson Experience. The JGE is off to a fantastic start. From 11 points in a twenty minute intro to 26 points in a starring role in game two, maintaining his current pace would fit the profile of "something incredible."
Sacrifice a goat to the basketball gods Do the one thing they do a lot well
The Mavericks are dead last in the NBA in rebounding. This isn’t getting better while Dirk is out and the Mavericks essentially play a three guard lineup for half the game.
The Mavericks are dead last in the NBA in free throw attempts. This isn’t getting better while Dirk is out and this cast of jump shooters.
The Mavericks are dead last in the NBA in field goal percentage. This isn’t getting better with Dirk... yeah, just read the last paragraph again.
What are two non-defensive categories where they are not dead-last?
Three-point attempts (top 10) and three-point percentage (not last!). So, we know they’re going to fire it up. If one of those random "bad volume-shooting teams gets hot" nights falls upon the Mavericks, it can happen.
Cuban unleashes secret cyro-freezed 2011 Dirk Make it to overtime
Their overtime record is .500, which is a hell of a lot better than .167. Excuse my step-inside-a-step logical fallacy but I’m just sayin’.
Really, at this point, the Mavericks are hoping to see growth and consistency from their young guys and avoid injuries to their point guards. A genuine fighting spirit will come back to the team eventually but for now, if they can stay within punching distance for the length of the game and not get destroyed in any one quarter, it will be a good showing against a contender quality opponent.
How to watch
Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. CST.