Just about nothing went right for the Mavericks on Wednesday night. They lost to the Hornets in what can only be called disheartening fashion. But luckily they won’t have time to dwell on their poor effort on the boards and terrible shooting from deep. The Miami Heat visit the AAC tonight, bringing their own set of challenges.
Obviously the Mavericks will have to improve on a lot of things to beat the current Eastern Conference champions. Luka Doncic working on his 3-point shooting should help, but there are some other key areas Dallas needs to focus on to pick up their second win of the season. Here are three things to watch for:
Bam Adebayo, a problem
Adebayo leads the Heat in scoring, assists, and rebounds. Spoiler alert: he’s really good at basketball. This will be a problem for the Mavericks. Per ESPN’s Tim McMahon, Maxi Kleber is questionable with a sprained left ankle. That leaves Dallas with only Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein as post defenders, which isn’t ideal. Dorian Finney-Smith could probably see a little time against Adebayo, as well. Essentially, the Mavericks will have to get creative to slow down Miami’s breakout front court star. If Adebayo has a big night, things could get ugly for the Mavericks.
Rebounding, or lack thereof
The Mavericks are the worst rebounding team in the NBA. The Heat, however, aren’t much better, coming in at 28th. So if you feel like Dallas should be better on the boards, Miami will give them a chance to prove it. If they can’t dominate on the glass against the Heat, they’re not going to rebound against anyone.
The Mavericks are 28th in second chance points allowed, at 16.5 points per game. As with their rebounding, the Heat aren’t much better, allowing 14.5 second chance points per game so far. Dallas controlling the boards and limiting Miami to only one shot attempt per possession would go a long way to sealing a victory for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks have the fewest turnovers in the league, while the Heat handle the ball with the carelessness of a fifth grader with their first cell phone. Miami averages 19.5 turnovers per game, the worst in the NBA. The key will be the Mavericks converting those turnovers into actual points, something they’ve done well so far in this young season. Dallas ranks ninth in the league in points off of turnovers. The Mavericks could benefit from running into a few easy baskets, and getting turnovers is one of the best way to do this.
How to Watch
The game has an early start at 6:00 p.m. Central, and is available on Fox Sports Southwest and NBA League Pass.