Playoff basketball is supposed to be loud, intense, and a world away from regular season games. The pressure is immense and the stakes are high. This year will be different, however there are a couple of advantages Dallas will have when it comes to playing games without a crowd.
Without fans, the playing field levels in a way for each game. Each game becomes a match up of skill, competitiveness, depth, team chemistry, strategy, and coaching style. As the Mavericks have entered the bubble, it’s no secret how strong their team chemistry is. From afternoon bass fishing to raves on the balcony, the Mavericks are doing just fine in the team chemistry department.
Another very valuable component of the team is the coaching staff. Rick Carlisle is widely respected across the league and it appears that every player on the team has bought into his system and is focused on winning every game. When you’ve got a strong staff with people like Jamahl Mosely, Darrell Armstrong, God Shammgod, Jenny Boucek, and Stephen Silas (I could keep going), it makes it that much easier for players to really buy into the program and establish a winning culture.
Last but most certainly not least; their personnel. These games are going to highlight the talent possessed by each team as well as who has the most competitive guys. Kristaps Porzingis recently stated that he expects the games to feel like “high-stakes pickup games.” Having two incredibly talented and hungry stars to lead your team into the playoffs is great, but the thing that will give Dallas the best chance at upsetting other teams is there bench.
That the Mavericks are a competitive bunch can’t be understated. It’s clear on the floor during games, but also off the floor when they’re together fishing, having shooting contests after practice, or playing Spike ball.
Depth matters too
For teams that don’t have much depth, there is a lot of risk. If a key starter or a franchise player gets injured or tests positive, that’s trouble. Dallas, who is currently down a high-quality backup in Jalen Brunson and starting big man in Dwight Powell, is still a deep team. Donnie Nelson recently suggested that the projected starting lineup will include Luka, Seth Curry, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, and Porzingis.
That’s a lineup with two 40 percent three-point shooters along with a long, defensive wing (who happens to be shooting 37 percent from three this season) to go with the star-studded duo. Depending on the match up, Maxi Kleber may get swapped into the lineup for Curry. This leaves the Mavericks with several quality pieces available on the bench in J.J. Barea, Kleber, Delon Wright, Boban Marjanovic, and Trey Burke for different match ups. This versatility is why they’re projected as a dark horse for the playoffs. If the Mavs continue to stay healthy, they are going to be a scary team to watch for any outside viewers around the league.
The lack of crowd noise should be of no concern for Mavericks fans. No one will want to take on a deep and intensely competitive team who also happens to have a deadly duo who can both score from anywhere on the court. Anything can happen to anyone at any time, so it’s difficult to make any predictions. The Mavericks have yet to have anyone test positive, so all we can do is hope that they keep doing what they’ve been doing to stay safe so that they can make a splash come playoff time.