If this were any other season, Monday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets would look winnable for the Dallas Mavericks. The Nuggets, though, have always played the Mavs tough. Still, it looked like a game that Dallas should win when the schedule was released. But now, well, we know what has happened. Things aren’t going well for the Mavs. Still, there may, may, be a chance that they could pull it out and notch their sixth win of the season. That would be swell, wouldn’t it? Here’s how they can do that.
Rebound, rebound, rebound
The Nuggets are the best rebounding team in the league. They average 49.3 per game. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the fact that they miss a lot of shots — Denver also leads the NBA in offensive rebounding with 13.1 per game.
Dallas is going to have to bring the Windex in this one. For the season, the Mavs have a defensive rebounding percentage of 79.1. That’s great! But that is also with Andrew Bogut on the floor for the most part. He’s out. That’s not great. Bogut accounted for 39 percent of the defensive rebounds when he was on the floor. Without him the likes of Dwight Powell, Salah Mejri, and all the wings are going to have to crash the boards relentlessly. It might even behoove the Mavs to send a few guys toward the rim once a shot goes up.
Denver is a young team with a fairly young point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay. He’s still acclimating to the league and therefore turns the ball over more than he should. His 2.9 turnovers per game leads the team. As a whole, the Nuggets turn the ball over 14.2 times per game. That’s good for 25th worst in the league. The Mavericks need to capitalize on this. And frankly, they have done so all season. Dallas forces 14.9 turnovers per game; second best in the NBA. Remember, despite the Mavs’ record, they’re still a good defensive unit. They just need to turn those turnovers into buckets.
Shut down Wilson Chandler
It’s not known yet if Chandler will be available. He’s currently listed as questionable with right hip soreness. But if he does play, he presents the biggest offensive weapon on the Nuggets roster. He’s averaging 18 points and 7.6 rebounds off the bench. It’s early, but Chandler should be in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year. He has an effective field goal percentage of 51.1 and takes more shots per game than anyone else on the Nuggets. If he isn’t able to go, the Mavs will have dodged a bullet.
Both Mudiay and Darrell Arthur are from Dallas so it would be nice if the Mavs could spoil their homecoming. They’ll likely have a few friends and family in the AAC. The home team needs one, y’all. Don’t be mad if they win.
How to watch
Tip off is at the usual 7:30 p.m. Central on Fox Sports Southwest, or NBA League Pass outside the DFW area.