This week’s staff question was another which allows them to expound, should the so desire: which Dallas Mavericks game do you have circled on the calendar and why?
Ben: On Sunday, November 20th, the Mavericks will take on the Denver Nuggets in Dallas. First of all, anytime Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic face off is must see basketball. Secondly, this is the second game of a two-game series between the teams. There’s a day off between games, so both teams will be rested. It’s likely they’ll be battling for position in the standings, though it’ll be early. There’s no way I’m missing such a compelling matchup that’s set up to produce quality basketball. I might even make my way down to the AAC to see it in person.
Xavier: The October 25th game against the Pelicans will give us an idea of how Kidd plans on using our big men. Will he emphasize offense over defense? It would be nearly impossible for New Orleans to guard a lineup with Wood at the 5 with their current roster. If he chooses to close with McGee, it would play right into New Orleans’ hands. Personally, I think all the hullabaloo about whether or not Wood would start was largely overblown. That game will tell us if I was wrong to wave it away dismissively.
David: The Christmas Day game is obviously going to be circled for a lot of people simply because it is a national TV game against the Lakers on Christmas. And while those types of games are always fun, I’m circling it for a few, more personal reasons. The last time I attended a Christmas Day game was in 2011 when Lebron and company blew the Mavericks’ doors off on opening night of the lockout season after the Mavericks beat them in the finals six months prior. Somehow, 11 years later, the Mavericks are hosting their first Christmas Day game since that embarrassment against none other than Lebron James. I am hoping Luka Doncic can avenge Dirk’s Christmas loss, in what could very well be one of the last, if not the last time I see Lebron James play live. In addition, 11 years ago ago the guy in front of me yelled “Hey Lebron, Dirk’s better than you” during a free throw, and now I get to carry on his legacy by replacing Dirk’s name with Luka’s. I am circling this game multiple times over.
Clint: Personally, my eyes are glued to the December 12 matchup against Oklahoma City. Why this game? Rumor has it that Mavs Man will be publicly executed at halftime and we will be safe at last.
Matthew: Sunday, November 27 versus the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a generational talent and you should always make it a point to see those guys in person when you can. This will be his only visit to Dallas during the regular season. If the Mavericks can make it to the finals, it could also be a finals preview.
Brent: March 13th at home vs Memphis. Dallas has a dreadful track record landing free agents and drafting difference-makers outside of some very notable exceptions. Historically, the trade market is how Dallas is most competent at addressing flaws.
The KP trade came in February last year. If another seismic deal hits around the same time this season, we will be wondering how the adjusted roster will congeal before the playoffs begin. This game against the Grizzlies is the back half of a home and home which should give a potentially retooled Mavericks rotation a chance to measure up against their main competition in the Southwest division.
Logan: This is a slight cheat, but I’ll say November 18th against Denver...because then it’s Denver again in a back to back, at Celtics, at Raptors, at Bucks, home for the Warriors. That will be the first terrifying schedule stretch, which is such a key part of every NBA season. Last year they consistently surprised us with their ability to navigate the daunting road trips and playoff-atmosphere games, so something tells me that two-week stretch will give us a good idea of where we stand within the league.
Kirk: Tuesday, November 29th they’ll be facing the Golden State Warriors for the first time since the Western Conference Finals. It’s always easy to read too much into a regular season game, but I want to see how Dallas performs against the champs after a slightly revamped roster.