The Dallas Mavericks (35-25) will look to recover in a national broadcast game against the Golden State Warriors (43-17) Sunday night, after dropping a heavyweight bout again the Utah Jazz Friday night.
The teams split their first two matchups in January — the first a brutal offensive night before Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey retirement, the second a blowout in the bay. With just 22 games left, nearly every game feels like must-win. But the Mavericks will have their hands full this evening.
In the previous Mavericks win this season they did a solid job of disrupting Steph Curry. Some of it was just shooting luck, but there was a clear concerted effort to make Curry uncomfortable around screens and off the dribble.
Curry has averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Even in the blowout Warriors win Curry didn’t dominate as a shooter (granted it wasn’t necessary). Stunningly he has shot 3-of-19 from three against Dallas this season. It will require a nonstop effort, but a Mavericks win begins with forcing Curry out of rhythm.
New support, more opportunity
The Mavericks stars of Friday night were newcomers Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Against the Jazz the duo combined for 37 points while shooting 8-of-12 from three.
Not only was it their best games as Mavericks, they are displaying a quick chemistry with the bench unit. That kind of production won’t be the norm, but the loss aside, it was very encouraging to see potential from both players as the Mavericks seek out ways to give Luka Doncic a rest and not drop off.
Though they both were the hottest players for the team, neither closed out Friday’s crunch time game. Head coach Jason Kidd commented after the game about needing to find them more minutes. It’s worth keeping an eye on how he manages that.
Doncic finding his footing
Friday night’s game was tough for Luka Doncic. He didn’t seem to have his legs under him after time off during the All-star break. Even considering that the Mavericks turned to him late in a close game, and Doncic scored on back to back possessions.
It seemed enough to give him confidence to take on Jazz center Rudy Gobert in isolation on multiple possessions — fouls or not, all remaining possessions were fruitless.
Mavs finished practice a half-hour ago, but Luka Doncic is still here in Chase Center playing full-court pick-up with reserves.— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) February 26, 2022
Felt like he needed some extra work today, even after playing 35 mins last night. pic.twitter.com/IEfRqbmVfd
As Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan reports, Doncic put in extra work Saturday. He’s been on a tear of late, and it shouldn’t be long before he finds that rhythm again. The Warriors play an aggressive defense, but he’s had decent success against them: shooting 40-percent from three and averaging nearly 26 points. Look for locked-in Luka Sunday night.
How to watch
Tip-off is set for 6:30 CT and can be watched on ESPN.