The full schedule for the 2018-2019 NBA season has been released, and the Dallas Mavericks have a lot of exciting matchups to look forward to. There are many storylines to look out for this year, from Luka Doncic’s highly anticipated rookie season, to DeAndre Jordan’s long overdue arrival in Dallas, to Dennis Smith Jr.’s improvement going into his second season, to this potentially being Dirk Nowitzki’s final season in the league. With all of those things being considered, we asked our staff:
What are the top-5 Mavs games you’re looking forward to the most this season?
Sam (@SamGuertler): I’m going to skip the first game of the season because I, like many others, are just anxious for the season to start. I’ll jump to the fourth game on October 24 in Atlanta against the Hawks. It’s the first time the Hawks will see just how much they gave up passing on Doncic. The second game I’m looking forward to is October 31 against the Los Angeles Lakers. This will be the eighth game of the season, so the new-look Mavs will be looking more comfortable together with a chance to prove themselves against another playoff hopeful. Also, that LeBron James guy will be putting the basketball in the hoop as well.
The third game I’m circling is against the Phoenix Suns on December 13. This will be the second showdown between the two clubs after the season opener in October. I’m assuming both Doncic and DeAndre Ayton will have first game jitters that night, so the second go around should see both players showcasing their potential.
Five days after that game, the Mavericks will play the Denver Nuggets for the first time. Normally, this would be just another game, but whether it was an accident or not, Michael Porter Jr. provided blog boys everywhere bulletin board material when he liked an Instagram post stating Doncic was overrated. MPJ should have a good view of Doncic’s Rookie of the Year campaign from the bench.
Finally, I’m looking forward to the December 31 matchup in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. That’s the first time the Mavs play in the city I reside in, so I’ll be sure to snag tickets to see them play first hand.
Jordan (@Jbrodess): There are plenty of storylines that will be fun to track this season — either watching matchups for the future of the team, in Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic, DeAndre Jordan’s first season in Dallas, and Dirk Nowitzki’s possible last ride with major milestones in play.
I’m excited about plenty. But first, give me the Mavs second home game, against the Chicago Bulls on October 22nd. Yes, these are two teams that have had tough seasons lately, but I’m excited for two reasons: 1) I live in Chicago so I always get excited when the Mavs play them, and 2) these are two teams building young intriguing cores. Plus, hopefully the Mavs will be clicking by the third game of the regular season.
Second, the Mavs visit the Los Angeles Clippers on December 20th. They will have already hosted the Clips earlier in the month, but DeAndre Jordan’s return to LA will be must see.
Third, the Mavs host the Lakers on January 7th. The only time LeBron and his new team visit the AAC. The crowd might be majority Lakers fans, but having the Lakers in Dallas with all their hype should be a blast.
Next, the Mavs head to Milwaukee on January 21st. This is a selfish pick. This is close to my birthday, and possibly one of the only times I’ll be able to see the Mavs in person. And, I don’t know, maybe we’ll get a Kostas vs Giannis matchup.
Finally, give me what could be Dirk’s final home game on April 9th vs Phoenix. Hard to say what will be on the line in this game, but there’s a reality where the Mavs are fighting for a playoff spot, or Dirk is playing in the AAC for the final time, or both. Even if neither is true, it’ll be a game to tune in for.
With how the last few seasons have gone, a lot of the heated rivalries of the last two decades have lost some power. But there hasn’t been this much anticipation in Dallas for a while. Plenty to look forward to.
Dalton (@dalton_trigg): Opening night at Phoenix is a given for me. Even though the Mavs haven’t made it past the first round since 2011, it’s always been far more interesting for me when they actually make the postseason. These last two seasons have resulted in extremely long summers, being that the Mavs’ seasons have ended in early-April. So, opening night is number one for me. It’ll be great to have Mavs basketball back again, this time with Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan. Maybe the Mavs and Suns can rekindle that rivalry that was so fun to watch in the mid-to-late 2000’s.
Mavs vs. Thunder was very intriguing last season. It seemed like we’d see the best out of Dennis Smith Jr. when it was in the 4th quarter against Russell Westbrook, so I have November 10 circled on my calendar, when they meet for the first time at AAC. The Mavs competed very well against OKC last season, and I’d expect more of the same this season being that the Mavs improved their roster and the Thunder pretty much stayed the same (although, losing Carmelo Anthony could potentially be an addition by subtraction move).
The last home game of the season obviously has to be up there too. Although I personally believe that this team will find a way to make it into the playoffs, if that ends up not happening, it could be the last time we see Dirk at AAC. That could be a special moment no one will want to miss. If the Mavs are better than most people expect this season and make the playoffs, I could see Dirk coming back again for his 22nd season. We can hope!
I’ll fill out my list with the two times the Mavs visit the Pelicans in New Orleans this season. I live just one and a half hours away from the Smoothie King Center, so that’s the easiest way for me to watch the Mavs up close and in person. I always look forward to the schedule being released so I can start making my travel plans for those two games. It’ll be a lot of fun watching Luka and Dennis face off against Anthony Davis. Also, thank goodness Rondo won’t be down there this year.