The Dallas Mavericks (33-27) are trying their hardest to overcome recent defensive struggles with extraordinary play from their star. Luka Doncic has been so good lately that he was crowned Western Conference Player of the Week yesterday. Still, they’re fighting an uphill battle as they play a condensed schedule with their whole team struggling to show up every night. They’ll need the whole team to knock off a rolling Golden State team. Let’s take a look at three storylines in this one:
It feels truly redundant to say it at this point, but Steph Curry is playing extraordinary basketball lately. Curry is leading the league in points per game this season at 31.3, but he’s somehow had an even better month in April. In the 13 games he’s played this month, Curry is averaging a jaw-dropping 38.1 points per game. That obviously leads the NBA for the month and no one even rivals his production (Bradley Beal is in second with 30.3 PPG). Not only is he scoring a lot, but he’s doing it incredibly efficiently. He’s posted a shooting split of 52.9/47.2/89.7 on the month. That 47.2 percent from deep looks even more impressive when you consider he’s 85-of-180 on three-point attempts over the month. That’s just under 14 three-point shots per game! He’s not only put himself in the running for individual awards but more importantly has put his team in a position to be featured in the play-in tournament.
The Mavericks haven’t had a perfect month in April, but it’s hard to complain about this stretch from an overarching viewpoint. They rank in the top-15 of both offensive and defensive efficiency, while also posting a winning record. They’ve played very good basketball when they haven’t played down to their competition. One reason they’ve been able to remain competitive is due to contributions outside of Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Dorian Finney-Smith is shooting 45.1 percent from deep on the month (before his forgettable night against the Kings). JJ Redick has played well in bursts. Willie Cauley-Stein has made some good defensive plays and Dwight Powell just had the game of his season.
The Mavericks have put themselves in a position where the performance of role players largely dictates if they are going to win or lose a game. There’s no better time to get them going then now, especially after what happened last postseason.
The Mavericks are 5-7 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. Last night, many Mavericks took the night off against the Kings and they suffered the consequences. Hopefully, last night refreshed the legs and Dallas is ready to take on this Golden State team. The practice of resting players during this condensed season has been a hot-button issue for Mavs’ fans this season. I’m not here to tell you how to feel about the issue, but rather that it’s far from over. The Mavericks have three more back-to-backs left this season, meaning there’s a chance Dallas will rest players in six of the remaining 12 games. What does that mean for a team in sixth place that could easily fall into seventh if not careful? I’m not sure, but we’re going to figure it out together soon.
How to Watch
This one tips off at 8:30 p.m. CST and will be nationally televised on TNT.