Mavs Playoff Watch: Week 9 (12/12-12/18)

With just 1 win and 3 losses this week, the Dallas Mavericks dropped from 7th place to 9th and out of the current playoff picture.  The Mavs still have big time struggles on the road, losing two more this week and dropping to 2-11 this season while playing away from the American Airlines Center.

Head Coach Rick Carlisle and the rest of the Mavs better figure out their road struggles quickly because things are not about to get any easier.  This week they travel to LA to play the Clippers, they go to Golden State, and finish the week at Portland.  This could be a huge week to climb the standings by beating other Western Conference playoff teams, or it can plunge Dallas further away from fulfilling their quest to play playoff basketball this April.



With Memphis going 1-3 this week it was a great opportunity for the Mavericks to take control of the division that they unfortunately missed out on.

Southwest Division W L W/L% GB
Memphis Grizzlies (7) 16 14 0.533
Dallas Mavericks (9)  15 14 0.517 0.5
Houston Rockets (9) 15 14 0.517 0.5
San Antonio Spurs (11) 16 15 0.516 0.5
New Orleans Pelicans (12) 15 16 0.484 1.5

Dallas dropped from being the 7 seed at 3.5 games back from the 1 seed to being 9th and 5.5 games back of the 1 seed Denver Nuggets.

Western Conference W L W/L% GB
Denver Nuggets (1) 21 9 0.7
Golden State Warriors (2) 21 10 0.677 0.5
Oklahoma City Thunder (3) 19 10 0.655 1.5
Los Angeles Lakers (4) 18 13 0.581 3.5
Portland Trail Blazers (5) 17 13 0.567 4
Los Angeles Clippers (5) 17 13 0.567 4
Memphis Grizzlies (7) 16 14 0.533 5
Sacramento Kings (7) 16 14 0.533 5
Dallas Mavericks (9)  15 14 0.517 5.5
Houston Rockets (9) 15 14 0.517 5.5
San Antonio Spurs (11) 16 15 0.516 5.5
New Orleans Pelicans (12) 15 16 0.484 6.5
Minnesota Timberwolves (13) 14 16 0.467 7
Utah Jazz (14) 14 17 0.452 7.5
Phoenix Suns (15) 7 24 0.226 14.5


Mavericks Week 9 Recap (ATL, @PHO, SAC, @DEN)

Atlanta Hawks (Home): Win 114-107 – The Dallas Mavericks started this week with a hard-fought win over Trae Young and the inexperienced Hawks.  Harrison Barnes was the leading scorer for the Mavs with 25 but it was really the 24 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists of Luka Doncic that made the difference. You also had JJ Barea going 7-11 from the field including three 3-pointers to rack up 18 points in 16 minutes off the bench.  Although the Hawks only had 6 wins coming into the game it was never easy for the Mavericks.  It was tight all tight all 4 quarters and was within 5 points in the last minute of the game,  but the rookies Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic were able to ice the game with 4 straight free-throws.



Phoenix Suns (Away): Loss 99-89 – This was a real letdown in Phoenix despite Dirk Nowitzki making his season debut.  The Suns were the worst team in the league coming into the game, without their best player in Devin Booker, and their own crowd was chanting against team ownership all throughout the game.  At the 8-minute mark Phoenix took the lead and never gave it back, turning the Mavericks over 23 times and holding them to just 15% (7-33) 3-point shooting.  Dirk played just 6 minutes in his debut going 1-1 with 2 points.  JJ Barea missed this game and the Mavericks missed his energy and offensive firepower off the bench.  Ultimately it was TJ Warren for the Suns that was too much for the Mavericks with his game-high 30 points.



Sacramento Kings (Home): Loss 120-113 – What I thought was going to be an up and down footrace by Dennis Smith Jr and De’Aaron Fox turned out to just be Fox outrunning the Mavs all night with DSJ watching from the sideline. Fox was phenomenal, the second year point guard, initiated the offense, could not be kept out of the lane, and had a turnaround mid-range jump shot working thata opened up the offense for the whole team.  Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting this season by matching De’Aaron Fox’s 28 points and together holding off the Mavs, leading the entire second half.  But enough about the Kings, and more about Dirk and Luka, who had 28 points of his own to go along with 9 assists and 8 rebounds.  It was amazing so see Dirk on the court again.  For the first time since 1999 Dirk stepped out onto the American Airlines Center floor as a reserve.  Once he got up from the bench you could feel the energy rise in the arena.  By the time he checked into the game the crowd was already howling for Dirk, showing a bit of gratitude for being the most loyal Superstar in NBA history and delivering decades of basketball greatness and NBA Championship to the city of Dallas.  When Dirk first came into the game there was a moment where he caught the ball 30 feet from the basket, started the deep knee bend, and everyone there thought he was ready to chuck it up from deep.  He passed on that shot but was able to get one basket and a technical foul free-throw to give the home crowd what they wanted.  Luka was on the floor with Dirk for a few minutes and you could just tell he was loving it, he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.  Luka heard that thunderous standing ovation for Dirk, checking into a game in mid-December, as for the first time witnessed first hand how much the Dallas fans appreciate Dirk’s greatness.  I know Luka has felt the love from Dallas/Fort Worth in the 29 games he has played so far but he hasn’t experienced anything like that.  If we keep treating him right, hopefully now we can have 21 years of Luka Doncic overlapped by 1 glorious year of Mavs playoff basketball.


Denver Nuggets (Away): Loss, 118-126 – The Mavs lost in the Mile High City in a shootout to end the week.  Nikola Jokic (32 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists) and Jamal Murray (22 points, 7 rebounds, 15 assists) showed their entire skill sets and overwhelmed Dallas in the end.  It was a reversal of roles tonight as the starters played great, Barnes had 30 points, Luka had 23 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, and DeAndre Jordan was a +15 in the box score.  The bench on the other hand struggled mightily, lowlighted by Dwight Powell being a -27 in the box score in 17 minutes.  Powell looked absolutely helpless guarding Jokic at the end of the third quarter when Denver went on a big run to stretch their lead to 10 to start the fourth quarter.  Once DeAndre fouled out of the game with around 6 minutes left Dallas had no interior presence to give Jokic any resistance.  Also of note, Dirk hit his first 3 of the season, but again the team could not stop anything defensively while he was on the floor.  I know Maxi Kleber was out tonight but we need his defensive presence next to Dirk while he is on the floor.  When it is Powell and Dirk there is just zero rim protection on the floor, basically layup lines and free throws for the opponent.  Kleber is quick, skilled, and protects the rim like few others in the league can do.  When Dirk plays it needs to be at the expense of Powell, not Kleber.  Let the Würzburg Boys roll out there with JJ, Devin, and Luka and watch them work.

Western Conference Power Rankings:

Biggest Gainer:  Rockets ↑7

Biggest Losers:  Mavericks ↓5

  1. Golden State Warriors (21-10 overall, 2nd in West) (2-1 this week)  – Next Week: @UTA, DAL, LAC, LAL.
  2. Denver Nuggets (21-9, 1st) (3-0 this week) ↑3 – Next Week: @LAC.
  3. OKC Thunder (19-10, 3rd) (2-2 this week) ↓1 – Next Week: @SAC, @UTA, MIN, @HOU.
  4. Los Angeles Lakers (18-13, 4th) (2-2 this week) ↓1 – Next week: NO, MEM, @GSW.
  5. Portland Trailblazers (17-13, T-5th) (2-1 this week) ↑4 – Next Week: MEM, UTA, DAL, @UTA.
  6. Houston Rockets (15-14, T-9th) (3-0 this week) ↑7 – Next Week: WAS, @MIA, SAS, OKC.
  7. San Antonio (16-15, 11th) (2-1 this week) ↑4 – Next Week: @ORL, MIN, @HOU.
  8. Sacramento Kings (16-14, 8th) (2-2 this week) ↑4 – Next week: @OKC, MEM, NOP.
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (16-14, 7th) (1-3 this week) ↓3 – Next Week: @POR, @SAC, @LAL.
  10. Dallas Mavericks (15-14, T-9th) (1-3 this week) ↓5 – Next Week: @LAC, @GSW, @POR.
  11. LA Clippers (17-13, T-5th) (0-3 this week) ↓4 – Next week: DAL, DEN, @GSW.
  12. New Orleans Pelicans (15-16, 12th) (1-1 this week) ↓4 – Next Week: @MIL, @LAL, @SAC.
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-16, 13th) (1-2 this week) ↓3 – Next week: DET, @SAS, @OKC.
  14. Utah Jazz (14-17, 14th) (1-2 this week)  – Next Week: GSW, @POR, OKC, POR.
  15. Phoenix Suns (7-24, 15th) (3-0 this week) – Next week: @BOS, @WAS, @BKN.

Western Conference 2018-2019 Team Stats

Teams are listed in order of their standings in the Western Conference. The following heat map shows which teams excel in certain statistical categories and where teams are under performing league average.  The darker the green the more they outperform in that category and the darker the red the worse they are in that category.

ORtg – Offensive Rating – points scored per 100 possessions.
DRtg – Defensive Rating – points allowed per 100 possessions.
NRtg – Net Rating – Difference between Offensive and Defensive Ratings. No surprise that the top 3 teams in the conference are by far the top 3 in Net Rating.  However, if we could adjust these stats to not include October, I think the Mavs would be right up there with the best.

The Mavericks have not differentiated themselves from the other teams in the West.  They are bad in blocks and turnover, but other than that they are pretty much average.  7th in the West in Net Rating is a good sign going forward, but unfortunately that has not resulted in playoff seeding at this point in the season.

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