The Dallas Mavericks (26-33) are reeling, and with the team being six games back of the eighth seed, the playoffs are out of the question. At this point in the season, games are about development and seeing what players are worth keeping around.
Up next for the Mavericks is a visit to Los Angeles to battle the Clippers (33-28) who have won two of the last three. Dallas has taken two of three against Los Angeles but have a considerably different team this time around.
Here’s what to watch for when the teams tip off:
Dirk’s chase for Wilt
After Dirk Nowitzki’s 15 point barrage Saturday night, the legend is only 91 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for sixth all time on the scoring leaderboard. With 23 games to go, the Big German needs to score four points per night to reach Chamberlain. With the clock ticking Dirk is trending in the right direction scoring double digits in two of the past three games and hoisting 14 field goal attempts in both of those scoring explosions. Against the Utah Jazz, Dirk played a season high 25 minutes, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get close to that number from here on out. Watching Dirk play potentially his final games is more than enough reason to watch the final 23 games.
Jalen Brunson’s continued development
With Luka Doncic out of the lineup the last two games, Brunson has taken on a significant playmaking role for the Mavericks. The Villanova product has filled in admirably, scoring a combined 35 points against the Jazz and Nuggets while shooting 60 percent from deep in the two games. Brunson will face a stiff test against Patrick Beverly and his hounding defense, but development is exactly what the remaining games are for.
Limiting Lou Williams
The super sub has been on an absolute tear in his last three games averaging 31 points and seven assists on 55/47/96 shooting splits. Always a threat to drop 30-point explosions the veteran is a scoring weapon whenever he’s on the floor and wherever he’s on the floor. Williams is having close to a career year averaging 19.8 points (second highest of his career) and 5.4 assists (highest of his career) while shooting 37 percent from three (second highest of his career) in 26 minutes per night. If the Mavericks can slow down the perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, they’ll have a good chance of stealing one in Los Angeles.
How to watch
It’s a late tip starting at 9:30, and the game can be watched on NBATV or Fox Sports Southwest.