The Dallas Mavericks are playing the second night of a back-to-back as they travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers. The Mavericks are coming off a great home win against he Portland Trailblazers, whereas the Cavs held off the Pacers at home Friday night. During their last matchup just this past Wednesday, the Cavaliers quickly put away the Mavericks in the fourth quarter, winning 105-90.
Here’s some things you think about before the game starts
Limiting Donovan Mitchell, somehow, someway
Mitchell is scoring 29.2 points per game, largely on the strength of his absolutely bananas three point shooting. Though 25 games played this year, Mitchell is shooting 46% on off the dribble threes, which is a number that doesn’t make any logical sense (it’s better than Steph Curry).
Dallas has to do something to slow him down and it really might mean playing a box-and-one style defense. Preventing him from getting the ball at all might mean other Cavaliers carve Dallas up (Darius Garland in particular), but Mitchell shoots nine threes a game. They have to try something to keep him from going off.
Spamming the Luka Doncic-Christian Wood pick-and-roll
NBA coaches worry a good deal about overusing things which work on offense. It’s largely because once the playoffs start, teams are so well scouted that what works easily in the regular season can get taken away in the playoffs.
If the Mavericks want to make the playoffs, particularly if they have the goal of missing the play-in, they should consider going to an offense first approach, which would mean playing Luka Doncic and Christian Wood together a whole lot. Kidd is worried about the defense and I get that, but this isn’t a team of defenders. Let’s run some teams off the floor with offense and a Doncic-Wood pick and roll can do just that.
Can the Dallas Maverick starting players show up?
This has been a recurring theme for years, but it would be great if the non-Luka Doncic starters contributed some offense. While Donovan Mitchell paced the Cavaliers on Wednesday with 34 points, the rest of their starters combined to score 58. Outside of Luka Doncic, the other four starting Mavericks combined to score a putrid 24. The rest of the guys have to do something if Dallas hopes to win.
How to watch
The game should be on Bally Sports Southwest and start at 7:00 pm CST