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5 Mavericks games that will make you rage in the 2023-24 season

There are always a few games each season with surprising, and sometimes frustrating outcomes.

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors - Game Two Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

We’re inching toward a new season for the Dallas Mavericks, a team with several new pieces collectively turning over what will hopefully be a new and more fruitful leaf. Last year’s 38-44 11th place finish is never where you want to end up, especially on the heels of a Western Conference Finals appearance.

There is reason for optimism heading into the year as the front office retooled on the fly. But, inevitably, every season there are a handful of surprise games. Ones that either make you declare your team is winning the finals or force you to buy a new television because you threw a remote through the last one.

This is our annual Rage and Rejoice series. The games that surprise you in the 82-game season. First, the five games this year that will make you pull your hair out.

10/30 @ Memphis Grizzlies

There’s just something about playing the Grizzlies. They’ve long been a team that relishes getting under the skin of an opponent, and not much has changed in this new era of Memphis basketball. The Mavericks won’t have to worry about Dillon Brooks (at least not in Memphis), but just around the corner is a Marcus Smart sighting.

Smart, who spent his entire career to this point with the Boston Celtics, will have a new lease on life playing the brand of basketball Memphis values. Could there be a better pairing between a new team addition and an organization?

The Mavericks will bypass facing Ja Morant here, who will be serving a 25-game suspension to start the season. But the tandem of Smart and Desmond Bane will be enough to give headaches to the Dallas perimeter. Historically teams that travel internationally in the preseason get off to slow starts. They have some winnable games to kick off the season, but this is where they get blindsided in frustrating fashion.

11/10 vs Los Angeles Clippers

Will people care about the NBA’s new in-season tournament? More importantly, will the players care? The league office sure hopes so. They’ve tried to infuse this into the normal regular season schedule in an effort to incentivize play in a slower part of the season — for teams and viewers.

Thanks for back-to-back postseason matchups in the first round the Mavericks and Clippers have some built up history and somewhat animosity. With Marcus Morris and Terance Mann in the fold, there’s always opportunity for sparks to fly — though it may be worth asking if that same heat will be coming as the Mavericks currently have their own Morris twin on the roster. Maybe we’ll get a Marcus vs Markieff battle in the third quarter? One can hold their breath.

This game will be the Maverick’s second in the in-season tourney slate after facing the defending champion Denver Nuggets on the road a week earlier. For whatever reason every third or fourth game against the Clippers some fringe rotation player seems to go off, and it happens here, with Bones Hyland hitting six threes and former Maverick Moses Brown recording eight blocks. Go figure.

12/2 vs Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder did technically have two rebuilding seasons where they won collectively 46 games. And the Mavericks did technically beat them five of the seven games head-to-head across that span of time? But it’s those other two that are nagging in my memory.

Now the upstart squad north of Dallas has a barrage of exciting young players, and play-in game experience in-hand (which the Mavericks “sidestepped” in controversial fashion). They match up well with the Mavericks and should be a problem any given night. You’d hope that the veteran play of the Mavericks rotation could impose some of that veteran maturity over the Thunder. But this is also coming on the second night of a back-to-back after facing the Grizzlies the night before.

2/12 vs Washington Wizards

Is there a more annoying non-rival opponent to lose to in the league? The Mavericks, in baffling and shameful fashion, have lost four straight to the Washington Wizards...a team that has won 35 games per season in that span. They’ve been bodied by Kyle Kuzma countless times in this span, and made Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Deni Avdija at times look like All-NBA talent. The Wizards must be so excited every time they see the Mavs on their calendar.

Kuzma will be back for another round, but look out for offseason acquisition Jordan Poole — who will be on a year long revenge tour to prove his time with the Golden State Warriors wasn’t a fluke. Who knows, maybe rookie Bilal Coulibaly will have a career night and we’ll all wander into the wilderness to never to be discovered. This is what the Wizards do to me.

3/31 @ Houston Rockets

Speaking of annoying. Out of the context of the Mavericks, the Houston Rockets should be a fun young team to watch this season. They have plenty of dynamic, athletic, young talents who will be learning together under the offseason hire Ime Udoka. But boy is it annoying to lose to them.

The Mavericks have mostly taken care of business against the Rockets in the recent past, which made the rare loss all the more frustrating. Add in the previously mentioned Dillon Brooks, who was ejected from his first preseason game at home in Houston for a cheap shot below the belt, and I can already tell it could be a long night. This will be in the waning moments of the regular season where everyone will be worn out or trying to reserve for the postseason. And oh, this game is at 6 PM local on a Sunday — did you know the Mavericks were 2-10 last season on Sundays? Steer clear of this game.