Welcome to the Dallas Mavericks week in review, where we wrap up what your Mavericks have been up to in the previous week. We’ll talk about whether Dallas is trending up or down, who’s playing well, and what’s in store next week.
It’s been a little more than a week since the season started, so we’ll cover those games as well. Let’s get to it:
Last week’s games
The Mavericks were blessed with an easy schedule to start the season. After a close loss to the Phoenix Suns on opening night, they caught a Memphis Grizzlies squad on the second night of a back-to-back. Predictably, they put the Grizzlies away early. The next part of the week didn’t follow script, however.
Facing a New Orleans Pelicans squad missing Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Herb Jones, the Mavericks looked primed to clean up the Pelicans’ bench unit and notch an easy win. New Orleans had other plans, though. Facing little resistance from the Dallas defense, the Pelicans shot a million percent from the floor and raced to an early lead. The Mavericks tightened things up and made it a close game, but ended up losing to the short-staffed Pelicans. That’s a little concerning.
The Mavericks caught another scheduling break, facing off against the Brooklyn Nets on the second night of a back-to-back. Ideally, they’d run away with the game much like they did against Memphis. But the Nets had more fight in them than expected, and the Mavericks had no answer for Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn forced overtime by making some clutch plays late in the fourth, but Luka Doncic dominated in overtime, leading the Mavericks to the win.
Dallas finished out the week 2-2, 10th in the West.
This week’s question: should we be concerned about the Mavericks’ shaky start?
Losing by two to the Suns on opening isn’t concerning, despite the blown lead, and Dallas took care of business against Memphis. But the two games against the Pelicans and Nets have me looking at the Mavericks with a furrowed brow.
Over the past three years we’ve seen Doncic and the Mavericks approach lesser teams with a disregard and apathy that has almost always come back to haunt them. That loss to the Pelicans was way too familiar. You’d like to see them handle the Nets easily, too, due to their rest situation, though I’m more understanding of the difficulty of putting away a team with Kevin Durant and Irving. Still, it feels like we should be talking about a 3-1 Mavericks team that dominated every opponent except for the Suns.
But they’re also incorporating two new players into the rotation in JaVale McGee and Christian Wood. In addition, they’re trying to replace Jalen Brunson’s minutes, and that’s no easy task. Our own Josh Bowe says it succinctly here:
the mavericks are replacing a guy who averaged 1.6 turnovers in 32 minutes per game last season with more minutes and touches for luka and dinwiddie. there's bound to be some weirdness/sloppiness as the team adjusts to life without brunson.— Josh Bowe (@Boweman55) October 28, 2022
While it feels like the same team that went to the Western Conference Finals last season, it’s actually quite different. It’ll take time for Jason Kidd to figure out the rotations and players to get used to their new roles. It’s early, and there’s no need for concern.
Tweet of the week
Tommy Alter perfectly summed up Luka’s play in one word:
Saturday—Oklahoma City Thunder in Dallas
Sunday—Orlando Magic in Dallas
Wednesday—Utah Jazz in Dallas