We have now officially passed the halfway point of the 2018-2019 NBA season so it is a good time to step back and take a look at where the Mavericks stand in the Division and against the rest of the Conference as they continue to strive for playoff basketball.
The Mavericks are starting to dig a real hole in the division. James Harden is playing out of his beard and even with Chris Paul and Clint Capela out with injuries, he is still finding ways to win games. 5 games back of the Division lead, the Mavericks better start making up ground before this hole gets too deep.
|Houston Rockets (4)||25||18||0.581||—|
|San Antonio Spurs (7)||25||20||0.556||1|
|New Orleans Pelicans (11)||21||23||0.477||4.5|
|Dallas Mavericks (13)||20||23||0.465||5|
|Memphis Grizzlies (14)||19||24||0.442||6|
As for the Western Conference picture, the Mavericks are still in about the same place they have been the past few weeks, treading water near the bottom of the standings. A 2-1 records this past week with their only loss being against the top seeded Golden State Warriors, the Mavs have shown signs of improvement and reason for hope that their standing can improve over the next few weeks. 3 games back from a playoff spot right now and with nearly half a season left to go, there is still plenty of time for the Mavericks to make a push for the postseason.
|Golden State Warriors (1)||30||14||0.682||—|
|Denver Nuggets (2)||29||14||0.674||0.5|
|Oklahoma City Thunder (3)||26||17||0.605||3.5|
|Houston Rockets (4)||25||18||0.581||4.5|
|Portland Trail Blazers (5)||26||19||0.578||4.5|
|Los Angeles Clippers (6)||24||19||0.558||5.5|
|San Antonio Spurs (7)||25||20||0.556||5.5|
|Los Angeles Lakers (8)||24||21||0.533||6.5|
|Utah Jazz (8)||24||21||0.533||6.5|
|Sacramento Kings (10)||23||21||0.523||7|
|New Orleans Pelicans (11)||21||23||0.477||9|
|Minnesota Timberwolves (11)||21||23||0.477||9|
|Dallas Mavericks (13)||20||23||0.465||9.5|
|Memphis Grizzlies (14)||19||24||0.442||10.5|
|Phoenix Suns (15)||11||34||0.244||19.5|
1/9 – Phoenix Suns – Win 104-94:
Even though the Suns are terrible, 10-32 coming into this game, and perennial tankers the last few years, Phoenix had won 7 straight games in Dallas. After dropping the first two games against the Suns the Mavericks were able to beat the hands down worst team in the West.
Luka Dončić was magnificent in this game going for 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists with 3 steals. Maxi Kleber had a very solid showing in his first start of 2019. He was 4-7 from the field, 2-4 from 3, and a perfect 3-3 and the free throw line. And of course, in normal Kleber fashion, he protected the rim with 2 blocked shots. Wes Mattews also had a very efficient night, going 4-5 from the floor with a perfect 2-2 from 3 and 4-4 from the line.
This was built as another showdown between the two top prospects from the 2018 NBA draft but Deandre Ayton was practically a no show. In only 20 minutes Ayton had almost more fouls than points, committing 5 fouls and scoring 6 points on 1-7 shooting to go along with only 5 boards.
This is a game the Mavericks needed if they are going to turn around their season after falling down near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. It was a fairly close game throughout but the Mavericks led the entire fourth quarter and cruised to a win to end their 3 game losing streak.
|K. Oubre Jr.||33||14||1||1||2||1||3||2||-6|
1/11 – @ Minnesota Timberwolves – Win 119-115:
In game 42, the start of the second half of the season, Friday night against the Timberwolves in Minnesota the Dallas Mavericks played hard all game, moved the ball without turning it over, and earned a tough road win against a surging Wolves team. The Mavericks 25 assists with only 7 turnovers is the style of basketball Mavs fans have been calling for.
Scary moment with 6:30 left in the 4th quarter where JJ Barea finished a layup down the middle of the lane, crashing into the basket stanchion. JJ immediately winced in pain and reached for his achilles. There are already report that the Dallas Mavericks believe that JJ Barea tore his right achilles. This is a sad turn of events and a huge blow for the Mavericks. You never want to see injuries, especially to a Mavericks legend and Champion like JJ Suave. I have made it clear how I feel about JJ Barea’s impact on the Dallas Mavericks second unit (JJ Barea 6th Man of the Year Candidacy Submission), he will surely be missed for the rest of this season as they try to make a push for the playoffs.
The injury to JJ Barea should provide more of an opportunity for Jalen Brunson to play meaningful minutes. Aside from Luka Doncic, coming into this season Jalen Brunson was the most accomplished rookie in the league. In 3 years at Villanova, Brunson won two National Championships, 2018 Big East Player of the Year, 2018 consensus All-American, and 2018 Naismith Player of the Year averaging 19 points and 4.6 assists on only 1.8 turnovers per game. Just like Luka, Jalen Brunson does not seem like a rookie. He is always composed, controls the tempo like a veteran, and makes his teammates better. The loss of JJ Barea will be impactful, but thanks to an amazing 2018 draft by the Mavs, it will be exciting to see what rookie Jalen Brunson can accomplish with those minutes.
Down the stretch in the fourth of quarter of this game Karl-Anthony Towns was simply unstoppable. He punished Powell, Kleber, and Jordan on his way to racking up 12 fourth quarter points and putting the Wolves up 111-110 with 1:41 left in the game. Then it was Luka time…
Luka Dončić scored 7 of the Mavericks final 9 points in the game including a go-ahead driving dunk with 57 seconds left. Then after a Taj Gibson tip in and the Mavs in-bounding from halfcourt, Luka threw the ball away to a pressing Taj Gibson. Hustle from Maxi Kleber, Luca Doncic, and DeAndre Jordan led to a quick steal and a 4 on 5 run-out by the Mavs. Luka crosses half court with the ball, Mavs down 1 with less than 30 seconds on the clock, calm and collected he pulls up from 28 feet and knocks down the game-winning 3 right over the outstretched arms of Karl-Anthony Towns. A Mavericks defensive stand and two Harrison Barnes free throw later and the Mavs had their fourth road win of the season.
1/13 – Golden State Warriors – Loss 1114-119:
Steph Curry is good. Really good. There are some opposing players that just infuriate me when they are red hot making shots, but Steph Curry is just flat out fun to watch. He is by far the best shooter in NBA history, he has unlimited range, pin point accuracy, the quickest release, and has the quickness and handles to leave defenders standing at the 3 point line while he probes the defense. He had it all going on Sunday night against the Mavericks. 48 points with 11 made 3’s in 19 attempts, including the go-ahead quick release 3 over Dorian Finney Smith with 42 seconds left in a tie ball game.
Our guy Luka Dončić was pretty spectacular himself, dropping 26 points, with 6 rebounds and 5 assists over 32 minutes. Luka did struggle with turnovers this game, throwing several bad passes to DeAndre Jordan in the heart of the defense and ending up with 5 turnovers on the day. Luka’s big moment of the day came in the last few seconds of the third quarter when he ran the clock down, sized up Kevin Durant, and hit him with the step-back 3 pointer to bring the Mavs within 4 points to end the quarter.
It was a loss, but a very encouraging loss. The Mavs played very hard all game, they got behind at times but were able to prevent the big game-changing run that the Warriors are so well known for. This was a really close game, in fact, the Mavericks had a great opportunity to to tie the game at the end when Maxi Kleber ripped down a rebound with 13 seconds left and the Mavs trailing 117-114. The entire arena started stirring, preparing themselves for another dose of Luka Magic that would never come. Maxi outlets the ball to Harrison Barnes who works his way up the court, looks around for a pass to Luka once he crosses half court, then decides to take it himself and dribbles the ball out of bounds with 5 seconds left. A few free throws later and the Mavs lose 119-114. Such an anti-climactic ending to a wildly entertaining game. To not give Luka Dončić a shot at the end is just disappointing. He has shown time and time again to be one of the most clutch players in the league, certainly the most clutch player on the Mavs, but he did not get his chance to shine in this one.
Mavericks Player Stats
Weekly Stats (Last 7 Days)
Luka Dončić is dominating. 28 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds per game this week including 3.7 made 3’s per game. These are absolutely unreal numbers, especially for a 19 year old rookie who has only played half an NBA season. Luka was great to start the year and he has just been getting better and better. Imagine if he could get his free throws to fall, Luka would have had a stat line this week that few can match.
Dennis Smith Jr failed to suit up for any of the three games this week. We were first told he had a bad back and then an “illness” but a recent report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski makes you think he is being held out because he is about to be dealt. You can read more about the reports and some potential trades here: DSJ Trade Ideas: Suns and Magic.
Western Conference Power Rankings
1.Golden State Warriors (30-14 overall, 1st in West) (3-0 this week) ↑1
This Week: W CHI, W @DAL, W @DEN.
Next Week: NOP, @LAC, @LAL.
2.Denver Nuggets (29-14, 2nd ) (2-2 this week) ↓1
This Week: W LAC, L @PHO, W POR, L GSW.
Next Week: CHI, CLE.
3.Houston Rockets (25-18, 4th) (2-2 this week) ↔
This Week: L MIL, W CLE, L @ORL, W @MEM.
Next Week: BKN, LAL, @PHI.
4.OKC Thunder (26-17, 3rd) (1-2 this week) ↑1
This Week: L @SAS, W SAS, L @ATL.
Next Week: LAL, @PHI, @NYK.
5.Portland Trailblazers (26-19, 5th) (2-2 this week) ↑2
This Week: W CHI, W CHA, L @DEN, L @SAC.
Next Week: CLE, NOP, @UTA, @OKC.
7.Utah Jazz (24-21, T-8th) (4-0 this week) ↑2
This Week: W ORL, W LAL, W CHI, W DET.
Next Week: @LAC, CLE, POR.
6.San Antonio Spurs (25-20, 7th) (1-3 this week) ↓2
This Week: L @MEM, W OKC, L @OKC, L CHA.
Next week: @DAL, @MIN, LAC.
8.LA Clippers (24-19, 6th) (0-3 this week) ↓2
This week: L @DEN, L DET, L NOP.
Next Week: UTA, GSW, @SAS , @DAL.
9.Sacramento Kings (23-21, 10th) (3-0 this week) ↑2
This week: W DET, W CHA, W POR.
Next Week: @CHA, @DET, @BKN, @TOR.
10.Los Angeles Lakers (24-21, T-8th) (2-2 this week) ↔
This week: W DET, L @UTA, L CLE, W CHI.
Next Week: @OKC, @HOU, GSW.
11.Dallas Mavericks (20-23, 13th) (2-1 this week) ↑2
This Week: W PHO, W @MIN, L GSW.
Next Week: SAS, @IND, @MIL, LAC.
12.Minnesota Timberwolves (21-23, 11th) (1-2 this week) ↓3
This week: L DAL, W NOP, L @PHI.
Next Week: SAS, PHO, @PHO.
13. New Orleans Pelicans (21-23, 12th) (2-1 this week) ↓1
This Week: W CLE, L @MIN, W @LAC.
Next Week: @GSW, @POR, @MEM.
14.Memphis Grizzlies (19-24, 14th) (1-2 this week) ↔
This Week: W SAS, L @MIA, L @HOU.
Next Week: MIL, @BOS, @TOR, NOP.
15.Phoenix Suns (11-34, 15th) (1-2 this week) ↔
This Week: L @DAL, W DEN, L @IND.
Next Week: @TOR, @CHA, @MIN, MIN.
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.