The Dallas Mavericks season and subsequently the Jason Kidd era got off to a rocky start against the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks victory should not have been that surprising given their success last season and overall talent of their roster. The margin of that victory was. Put simply, no team with Luka Doncic should lose by 26 in a game they are trying to win.
The Toronto Raptors also began the season with a first game loss. The Raptors lost 98 - 83 to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. Both teams will be looking to rebound. Here are three things to watch.
Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic reunion
Dragic was rumored to want to join his former Slovenian national team, teammate Luka Doncic this offseason. That has not happened and nothing is imminent. However, Luka has traditionally shown up to play when his mentor is on the opposing side. Also this will give Mavericks fans a good chance to see how much Dragic has left in the tank should he be dealt to the Mavericks.
To put it kindly, the Mavericks offense was not pretty in the first game. The team could not get to the rim and when they did they could not finish. The Hawks with a healthy Deandre Hunter and Clint Capella present a daunting defensive challenge but the Mavericks must be better. The Mavericks defense showed signs of improvement in the first game, but make no mistake this team’s bread is buttered on the offensive end of the court. If they cannot score at an elite level, this team will not be good.
But they can score at an elite level! They have shown it by having two of the top 16 offenses in NBA history over the last two seasons. They know what they have to do and now they must execute. The Raptors don’t quite have the Hawks length and athleticism but they are both long and athletic themselves so this should be a good attempt to prove themselves.
Brunson was one of the few bright spots in the opening game. Brunson had an incredibly efficient(7-13 from the field, 3-5 from three) 17 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 26 minutes. This was particularly impressive because the Hawks boast the type of length and athleticism which has stymied Brunson in the past. This game offers a chance for Brunson to continue to show why he should be a viable candidate for sixth man of the year if he remains healthy all season.
How to watch
Tonight’s game starts at 6:30 p.m. central standard time. You may watch locally on Bally Sports Southwest locally or via NBA League Pass elsewhere.