The Mavericks 13 appearances on national television confirm the nations increasing interest. They play 55 of their 82 regular-season games prior to the All-Star break. This increases the importance of early-season continuity and health. With that in mind here is a breakdown of the Mavericks schedule pre-All Star break.
The Mavericks have high hopes this season. They are looking to build upon the momentum established in free agency. To realize their hopes the club must begin the season strong. Proving the hype is factual.
October 23 – November 1
Overlooking the seasons first game against the injury-ridden Washington Wizards is a mistake. Injuries have limited their expectations. The Mavericks have to secure these type of wins. Three of the next four Maverick opponents are potentially western conference playoff teams.
To begin the season, this stretch of games serves as a prime opportunity for the club. They can abruptly establish themselves as a legitimate team on the rise. Of the five opponents, four are from the western conference.
They share a combined predicted record of 190-138. For the Mavericks the proving ground is ripe and its time to show they are worthy of playoff consideration.
The focal point of this five-game stretch is the Lebron James led L.A. Lakers. Denver and Portland are returning from successful seasons as well. Denver finished the season with the best record (54-28) in the league. Portland saw its return to playoff action end in the Western Conference Finals. Couple this with a talented New Orleans squad and it reiterates the need to enter the season prepared and energized. Everyone is eager to weigh the hype and production of a club thirsty for more.
Must Win Games
November 3 – November 14
November begins with a series of lackluster opponents. The Mavs are likely to be favored in 5 of these 6 games creating a potential battle with complacency. The group is predicted to win just 27 games minus a tough Celtics squad. They’re projected to finish the season 50 – 32. The only caveat to this part of the Mavericks schedule is the unease that accompanies contest away from the American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks can’t afford to pass on opportunities to accumulate wins. This could negatively impact them in a tight playoff race. This off-season showed one trade or free-agent acquisition can completely overhaul the league’s power structure.
Every season squads huddle at the bottom of the standings hoping for the chance at a high draft pick. Throughout this stretch of games, the Mavericks must dominate the group by producing wins. Elevating themselves from the bottom ranks.
February 1 – February 22
The Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers are the most likely playoff teams in this seven-game stint. The Mavericks should have no issue with these teams if their expectations and reality mesh. The margin for error is extremely small against inter-conference foes. This is why it’s crucial the Mavericks win the games they are favored.
A late February match versus the Sacramento Kings can’t be overlooked. Its the third of four games against them. The potential playoff implications could be major. The Kings’ combination of youth and athleticism will no doubt have them in the postseason mix. Two February match-ups against the Hawks only helps the chase towards the post-season. Keep in mind for the All-Star break begins February 14.
The Toughest Part of the Mavericks Schedule
The Rockets, Lakers, Warriors, and Clippers highlight the Mavericks toughest run of western conference games. Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Boston stand out from the east. This gauntlet begins mid-November and ends in late January to make matters worse.
November 16 – December 1
Weathering this storm is crucial. The comfortable confines of home aren’t enough to dispel the worry that comes with playing top-notch teams like Golden State, San Antonio, Houston, and the L.A. Clippers. Even with underachieving teams like Cleveland and Phoenix this groups superiority is obvious. The group shares a combined projected record of 341-315. This is amazing considering the Suns (29) and Cavaliers (19) projected win totals.
December 16 – January 25
This twenty game run could make or break the Maverick’s season. Road victories will be tough to accumulate. Every contest, except two (OKC & Sacramento), are against former or potential playoff teams. Two are against Golden State and one versus the Lakers. Other tough road matches include Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Portland, and Utah.
Equally stressful are the home games against the Clippers, Lakers, 76ers, Celtics, and Blazers to name a few. This is a powerhouse list. If the Mavericks underperform the playoffs are nothing more than an afterthought. The 2020 NBA Champion could be in this group. This particular stretch will determine the season’s trajectory.
To be taken serious the Mavericks must establish themselves as a healthy and competitive team. The schedule does them no favors but to be relevant they must overcome it.
Stats: www.basketball-reference.com Schedule: www.ESPN.com Reference: www.bleacherreport.com