The Mavericks completed their three-game scrimmage schedule Tuesday night.
Dallas finished with a record of 2 – 1 with the season set to begin Friday against the Rockets.
Although under bizarre circumstances the Mavs hope it is only the beginning of a short season and long playoff journey.
#Maverick Scrimmage Schedule:
*Live broadcast available via ESPN Dallas 103.3 [KESN-FM]
— Mavs Nation (@MavsNationDAL) July 22, 2020
@ Los Angeles Lakers
The Mavericks defeated the Lakers in their first NBA bubble scrimmage. A standout shooting performance from Seth Curry leads the way. In just 15 minutes of action, he went 8-8 from the field along with six made threes. He did not miss a shot on his way to a team-high 23 points. A welcoming surprise considering the lengthy time off.
The squad showed an unexpected on-court continuity that solidified the win. The layoff alone would justify the lack thereof.
The night ended a success as it was virtually without incident or injury.
vs Indiana Pacers
Their second scrimmage against the Pacers was highlighted by the absence of Kristaps Porzingis who missed the game due to a missed Corona Virus test.
As a requirement, every player in the bubble is tested daily. KP spoke with Dwain Price and provided a little insight.
Porzingis on missing the COVID-19 test on Saturday: "It was just a mistake on my part. It was a day off and everything kind of threw me off a little bit and I just kind of missed it. It is what it is now. I can't turn back the time and do the test. I wish I could." @dallasmavs
— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) July 28, 2020
In twenty-four minutes of play Luka Doncic fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 20 points and eleven rebounds. In addition, Maxi Kleber had a solid performance chipping in 18 points and six rebounds. The duo made the most of a tough situation keeping the game competitive down the stretch.
The Mavericks would fall to the Pacers 118 – 111 but the gaping hole left by KP’s absence was clear.
If they hope to see success in the bubble an interior presence will be necessary.
@ Philadelphia 76ers
In the final restart warm-up, the Mavericks needed extra time to handle the 76ers. After controlling the first half the club was surprisingly pushed to overtime. Although it included an undesirable shooting performance Kristaps Porzingis was able to muster a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
While shooting just 4 – 11 from the field. Luka produced a familiar stat line contributing 23 points with seven rebounds and six assists. Seth Curry cooled off considerably shooting just 1 – 6 from the field with just five total points.
The veteran leadership of J.J. Barea led the Mavs to a close win in overtime 118 – 115.
A Mavericks path to the playoffs shouldn’t be in question. This eight-game closing march is littered with chances to reassert themselves. Since the All-Star break, the club proved formidable, for what its worth. Virtually eons ago the team was locked into the seventh spot closely behind Houston with Memphis several games behind the Mavs.
Well, basically nothing has changed since. The club’s final eight games could place them in a favorable position moving forward.
Ideally, the Mavericks would like to avoid a first-round clash with the surging Clippers & Lakers, both are league favorites to raise the Larry O’Brien trophy. Not to mention this club is also winless versus the Jazz. Once again a team stout inside. These teams inside depth would be a clear issue for the injury-plagued Mavericks. The nonappearance of Kristaps in the Pacer scrimmage simply made it starker and more obvious.
Theoretically, the Mavericks could reach the second seed in the western conference, but it would take a catastrophic collapse by top teams to pull it off. The unexpected reprieve due to a global pandemic made the “NBA Bubble” mandatory. Essentially accelerating the rate of the unknown happening.
Remember teams ranked 2-7 are within no more than 4 games apart. The importance of beginning the restart strong is key. Teams can’t afford to lose games and hope to rise in the standings in such a short sample size. The playoff picture will remain a mystery until at least the first 3 games are played.
Luckily for the Mavs two of their first four games are against clubs with below .500 records. In total four of the eight games fit this build (Suns x2, Kings, Blazers). They have a regular-season record of 5-3 versus those squads.
Like this NBA season, the Mavs playoff chances are a bucket of questions with hopeful answers. In part, the hope is that will keep the nation tuned in. There is a genuine hope aspect to the season we’ve sorely missed. Most of us unknowingly.
This Maverick club has blossomed especially its two best players Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzinigis. Couple this with the authentic team chemistry they’ve shown since joining the bubble and it won’t be easy counting them out.
There’s no question the completion of the season and the crowning of a new NBA champion would be a complete success for the NBA.
Featured Image: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images