Dallas kicked the season off with a Western-conference rematch against Phoenix that had obvious ties to last year’s playoff series. However, Their game in Washington will be their first real taste of a potential “revenge” game this season, as former Mav Kristaps Porzingis is now in a Washington uniform.
Both rosters are dealing with some unfortunate injuries as Dallas will be without Christian Wood (ostensibly, KP’s replacement) and Tim Hardaway Jr, while Washington will be missing Bradley Beal, giving Porzingis even more latitude to put up big numbers against his former squad. However, at least when he was with Dallas, the Mavs never seems to get the better of the New York Knicks, so revenge might not be a driving motivator for the big Latvian.
Dallas will be on the second night of a back-to-back in Washington after playing the Magic the night before. In a vacuum, it’s a situation where you might have a little leeway for a team on the road against a frisky, roughly .500 team. However, with Beal out, Washington is going to be without the player who leads the team in points, assists, and steals. And while Washington is 5-6, they’re won only two of their previous seven games. By all measures, not a team that should be standing in Dallas’ way.
Dallas will, no doubt, have to deal with injuries of their own at some point this year – missing THJ and Wood for these games isn’t nothing – so they need to be able to bank wins when they catch a team missing such an important piece. They failed to do so when they dropped a game to the Zion-less Pelicans. A win against this Beal-less Wizards group is a chance to save some face.
It’s a trap
Being without your best player and offensive engine is never good, and I don’t mean to insinuate that it is. However, for a game or two, it can really create a different look to a team.
Dallas, perhaps infamously, is the slowest team in the league by pace. Washington, though, isn’t much faster. They’ve got the fifth-slowest pace in the league thus far. However, that’s when they’re playing a half-court offense featuring Bradley Beal. Minus Beal and his 16-shot attempts per game, Washington could potentially shake things up a bit.
When you’re outclassed, one way to increase the potential variance is to increase the number of possessions. More possessions equal more scoring opportunities, which a team missing its most efficient scorer should be interested in. The Wizards could look to push the pace and funnel those 16 shots to some shooters who could get hot on any given night like Kyle Kuzma, Will Barton, Rui Hachimura, or, yes, Kristaps Porzingis.
If Dallas gets lazy on defense, feeling some tired legs on their back-to-back, Washington could snatch this game away.
Let go of the clutch
If you’ve been watching many Mavericks games in this young season, you may have noticed that Dallas, outside of whomping Memphis by 41, Dallas has outscored its remaining eight opponents by just nine points total. Eight of their nine games have been classified as clutch. They simply haven’t been able to put teams away late, even when they’ve led heading into the fourth.
It would be nice, for once, to see Dallas simply take care of business. It’s a Thursday. People will have just watched them play the night before. People have other stuff to do. Doesn’t it sound nice to put the Mavericks on in the background, up 20+, only glancing up occasionally while folding laundry? We can live in that world. You can have clean, folded socks. If only the Mavericks do their part.
How to watch
You can broadcast or stream the game on Bally Sports Southwest at 6:00 CST.