Just when everybody ruled out the Dallas Mavericks from this year’s playoffs, they go on a 5 game winning streak led by backup point guard J.J. Barea.
Over the last 5 games, Barea has averaged 24.2 points, 7.0 assists and even 3.4 rebounds. With Chandler Parsons out for the remainder of the season and Deron Williams out indefinitely, the Mavs had to find a way to win without them. After a 111-133 loss in Sacramento the Mavs playoffs chances looked all but over.
Rick Carlisle decided to throw Justin Anderson into the starting lineup against the Denver Nuggets, which the Mavs won 97-88. Anderson was active all over the floor, playing great defence, cleaning the glass and getting above the rim for some amazing dunks.. He has started every game in the Mavs 5 game winning streak and has brought energy to an injury plagued team.
In a crucial game against the Houston Rockets at the American Airlines Center yesterday, J.J. Barea led all scorers with 27 points and even 8 assists. The Mavs grinded out the game to win 88-86 over a Rockets team which beat them 4-1 in last years first round playoffs matchup. In the Mavs 5 game winning streak, their opponents are only averaging 86 points a game against the gritty Mavs defence.
During the win streak Dallas has slowed their game pace right down, meaning they are taking more time off the shot clock on offence and focusing on getting stops on defense. Wesley Matthews commented on the Mavs defensive effort, “We still control our own destiny, and we’re changing our mindset to, ‘We have to stop people.’ We have to buckle down defensively and trust that we’ll get it on the offensive end when we need to.”
The new Mavs game plan seems to be working great, every player has stepped up and it shows the character of this Mavs roster. The Mavericks are currently 7th in the West with a record of 40-38, this last week of the regular season will determine if Dallas will be playing in the postseason or be packing their bags.