Dallas looked like a team on empty Wednesday night as they’ve been playing through a hectic second-half schedule, packed with road games and back-to-backs to make up for the games postponed by February’s winter storm. In that sense, another double header isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered, but such is life.
It’s not out of the question that the team can regroup from an uncharacteristically bad shooting night Wednesday (maybe whatever Utah had rubbed off on them). Stranger things have happened; Dallas once lost to a horrible Rockets team right after beating the NBA-leading Jazz. Oh, that just happened? Ah, nevertheless.
Darn near everything you need to know about this game starts and ends with Giannis Antetkounmpo’s name on the injury report. With the Mavericks coming home for the second game of their latest back to back, they may have just caught a break as the two-time MVP is listed as doubtful with knee soreness as of Wednesday night’s injury report.
Milwaukee has not been the regular season death machine in the East that it was last season, but any team Giannis is on has the potential to beat you on your best night. With him unavailable, a tired Dallas team stands a much better chance of starting their much-deserved home stand.
Score or die
When the Mavericks beat Utah while having two of its starters held scoreless, it was a fun “did you know” tweet. Well, Dallas must’ve really thought it was a hoot, because against Houston, they queued up “Disappointing offense from the starting lineup: the remix” by having every non Luka and Porzingis player combine for just 12 points, the bulk of which came from Dorian Finney-Smith with 9. Josh Richardson followed up his red-hot 5-5 night from downtown with an 0-9 goose egg from the floor. The outcome this time was a loss. Not so fun.
With the likelihood that Dallas will be without one or both of Doncic and KP on the second game of the back-to-back, having the starters contribute so little on offense, simply isn’t an option if they want to have any hope of winning the game. Richardson in particular, after having a fantastic game against Utah, could really help the Mavs’ cause with a bounce back shooting night on Thursday.
We’ve heard you, MFFLs. “Where’s Josh Green? Why isn’t Hinton getting energy minutes? Is Tyler Bey a cryptid or a real NBA player?”
Well, if Dallas does indeed decide to sit one or both of Doncic and Porzingis, what was already a short rotation becomes impossibly bare. Redick is still rehabbing, Maxi’s missed extended time, Burke’s being bothered by a calf injury, and this just feels like a game the team might use to reset and get everybody back up on their feet. It sounds a bit dramatic for a team coming off a 5-game winning streak before the loss to Houston, but, hey, losing to Houston really takes it outta ya, you know?
How to watch
The game starts at 8:00pm on Bally Sports Southwest