The Good Guys:
· The Dallas Mavericks: 24 and 15, sixth in the Western Conference.
The Bad Guys:
· The Golden State Warriors: 9 and 32, fifteenth in the Western Conference.
· Dallas is coming off of a 109-91 win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday—a nice bounce back game after playing roadkill for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
· Golden State has lost eight straight—having lost every game since the Mavericks hung 141 on them late last decade.
One Extremely Hot Take:
· Luka Doncic will top his career high in scoring—by at least eight points.
Here’s a few things to keep an eye on:
Will Golden State pick itself up off the mat?
The Warriors have been outscored by like a hundred points over this eight-game losing streak. And when I say ‘like a hundred points’ I’m barely even being hyperbolic because it’s legitimately 97 points. Their -12.1 point differential over that time would be substantially worse than Atlanta’s league-worst -10.0 through this point in the season. In their most recent match, Golden State got mauled by Memphis on Sunday, giving up 31 points and 19 rebounds to Jonas Valanciunas and losing by 20.
I keep thinking to myself “Well yeah but the Warriors are better than this. They’ll bounce back.” But I’m wrong, they won’t. The Future Dubs will be fine once their top talent gets healthy. This current version of the Warriors, though, may be playing exactly to their talents. And their talents are NOT defense. Dallas shouldn’t take any opponent lightly at this point, but maybe try to have some fun, guys.
Tonight’s the night to get the shooting right
As was mentioned above, Golden State has some defensive troubles. The Warriors are currently allowing their opponents to shoot 46.9 percent from the floor (good for 23rd in the league) and an incredible 37.8 percent from three (a perilous 29th in the league) which ranks ahead of only the putrid New York Knickerbockers.
In their nine games in January, Dallas is shooting a respectable 48.3 percent from the field, and 36.1 percent from three. In those games, the Mavericks’ top five (healthy) three-point shooters have performed as follows:
Dorian Finney-Smith- 36.8 percent; Maxi Kleber- 43.8 percent; Seth Curry- 40.7 percent; Tim Hardaway Jr. 45.8; and Luka Doncic- 37.5 percent. Dorian is doing exactly what we should expect of him. Maxi, Seth, and Tim have shot well on relatively few attempts. Luka could use a boost. Look for that boost to happen tonight.
The Draymond Stuff
For my last point I just have a few things to say about NBA stardom existentially. Draymond Green was the sometimes-fourth-best, sometimes-third-best, and occasionally-second-best player on the Golden State Warriors between 2014 and 2019. Where does Draymond stack up on this 2020 Warriors roster? His counting stats, while down from their highest peak, are within spitting distance of his career averages. His field goal percentage and three-point percentage are at their lowest since his rookie year. His win shares per 48 minutes, player efficiency rating, and true shooting percentage have all followed suit—the second lowest in his career.
Is Draymond Green, at 29 years old, just completely cooked? Or is he the same player he always was? A player who, by the nature of his style of play, cannot be a star on his own—but with the correct players around him becomes an incredibly important, All-Star-level player. Anywho, hope he doesn’t kick anybody in the crotch tonight.
How to watch
The game tips at 9:30 PM Central and can be seen on FSSW and NBATV. Get your NoDoz ready.