The 2019-2020 NBA schedule being released means we are one step closer to the return of Mavs basketball! We are just 72 days away from opening day in which we will get our first glimpse of the new looks Mavs highlighted by the Slovenian Sensation Luka Doncic and The Pegasus Kristaps Porzingis. As a season ticket holder, once the season schedule is released I am scouring the list looking for several key home games to mark my calendar. There is a good reason to get excited about every single Mavs home game this year due to the the dynamic star power on the Dallas roster but there are some games that stand out beyond the rest. Here are my top 10 Dallas Mavericks homes games for the upcoming 2019-2020 season:
Wednesday, October 23rd vs Washington Wizards
No Mavs fan can wait to see Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis on the floor together with Dallas across their chest. On paper they seem like a perfect offensive fit that will provide each other and their teammates all the space they need to be most effective. But we haven’t seen it in action yet and this will be our first chance.
Rick Carlisle can go several different ways with his starting lineup and it will be very interesting to see which way he will go. To me it seems like their are 4 locks to start (Doncic, Porzingis, Powell, and Wright) but who will the 5th starter be? I could feasibly see this 5th starter being several players, Justin Jackson, Seth Curry, Tim Hardaway Jr, or Dorian Finney-Smith. My best guess is that it will be Jackson, with his offensive versatility and upside as a scorer he would allow the Mavs to go big with their starting 5 while still having excellent playmakers with Luka Doncic and Delon Wright as the primary ball handlers.
Our questions will finally be answered on October 23rd when the Mavs take on the Wizards at the AAC. I expect the energy to be electric and the Doncic and Porzingis jerseys to be out in force.
Los Angeles Lakers
Friday, November 1st at 8:30 pm (ESPN televised game)
Lakers games are usually some of my least favorite all year just because their fans are so unbearable. They ooh and ahh over every little thing their team does like they are watching Magic and Kareem out there when it has really just been Lonzo and JaVale McGee. But now that they have LeBron James and Anthony Davis everyone will have good reason to be giddy about what their team does on the court.
Luka made it very clear last season that he it has always been a dream to play against LeBron James and that he was a bit starstruck when they finally met on Halloween last year in Los Angeles. Luka had far from his best game in this matchup but came alive down the stretch and hit what would have been the game-tying floater to send the game to OT had Wesley Matthews not inexplicably foul LeBron 40 feet from the basket with 2 seconds left.
Luka and the Mavs went 0-3 against the Lakers last season but now, with a year under his belt, I think Luka will no longer be start struck and more prepared to try to take LeBron and Davis down to try to elevate his standing in the league. This game is early on in the season and the whole World will be watching since it will be aired on ESPN. This will be Luka’s next chance to come at the King.
The Lakers also come to Dallas on January 10th.
New York Knicks
Friday, November 8th at 7:30 pm
This is a double revenge game that should bring high intensity from both teams. Both Kristaps Porzingis and Dennis Smith, Jr. will be looking to make a statement against their former teams and try to prove that moving them was the wrong choice.
I loved watching Dennis Smith Jr in his year and a half with the Mavs. His high flying acrobatics are nearly unmatched by a player of his size and I cannot wait to see the inevitable showdown of him skying towards the rim with Porzingis poised to contest. Dennis has crazy hops but it is hard to out-jump a 7’3″ Unicorn.
The Knicks also have some other fun and interesting players like Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, and RJ Barrett. They do not project to do much in terms of the Playoff picture next season but there is enough young talent and personal drama to make this a must watch game.
Golden State Warriors
Wednesday, November 20th, 6:30 pm (ESPN televised game)
The last three years we have been robbed from seeing the full impact of Steph Curry because of the addition of Kevin Durant and the unselfishness of the entire Golden State Warriors team. This season, however, things will be different. With Durant moving to Brooklyn and Klay Thompson being injured, Steph Curry will have to go back to the high usage levels that we saw during the 2015-2016 season when the Warriors went 73-9 and Curry made an NBA record 402 three pointers. In that season Steph was by far the most exciting player to watch with his unreal ball handling skills and mind boggling shooting range.
In addition to Curry, the Warriors have added a new young All-Star in D’Angelo Russell. Russell is quickly becoming must-see TV with his flashy ball handling, sky-scraping floaters, and deadly sniping ability. Watching him and Curry run around and jack up threes from near half court will be one of the best shows in the NBA next year whether it results in wins or not.
Seats for Soldiers Night
Seats for Soldiers night is where more than 100 wounded service members are flown in to join active reserve troops from the Dallas/ Fort Worth area to attend the Mavs game. What is even more amazing, is that every courtside season ticket holder gives up their seat to one of the soldiers and after the game the soldiers will be treated to a meet and greet with the Mavs players and staff.
I have been to several Seats for Soldiers nights at the AAC and it is by far one of my favorite Mavs games of the year. It is inspirational, extremely high energy, and it doesn’t hurt that the Mavs typically win! The Mavs are now 12-2 in these games including a 50 point beatdown of the Utah Jazz last season on November 14th. The in-game promotions are done by the soldiers, the National Anthem and halftime show are great, and two years former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, sat courtside among the troops and shook the hand and said “thank you” to every single courtside soldier at the game. I can’t wait to see what surprises Seats for Soldiers night holds this year!
We do not yet have a date for this game but last year it took place in mid-November. Regardless of when it is, I know I won’t miss it. Check out a recap of the 2017 Seats for Soldiers Night here.
New Orleans Pelicans
Saturday, December 7 at 1:00 pm
This, of course, is the Zion Williamson factor. Zion is such a rare combination of size and athleticism that makes him must watch entertainment. Seeing him fly down the court and elevate his head above the rim at 6’7″ 285 lbs is a sight I cannot wait to behold. The Pelicans also have a bunch of interesting young talent with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Jaxson Hayes while being surrounded by veterans like JJ Redick, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick Favors.
The Pelicans and the Mavs project to be fighting for a Playoff spot this season so all 4 of these divisional matchups will be crucial for both teams.
The Pelicans also visit Dallas on March 4th but I am more excited for the Saturday early game. Although early games can often start sluggish and sloppy it is nice to change up the routine and get into the AAC during the day. Fans usually arrive a little late to these day games but because of the Zion factor I expect fans to be in their seats and ready to go come tip-off.
Saturday, January 11th at 7:30 pm
This is a matchup of two of the best young duos in the NBA. Luka Doncic (20) and Kristaps Porzingis (24) vs. Ben Simmons (23) and Joel Embiid (25). This will be a showdown of young talent that is hard to replicate in any other NBA matchup.
The Philadelphia 76ers have title hopes this season after being knocked out of the Playoffs last year on Kawhi Leonard’s infamous shot in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Dallas Mavericks, on the other hand, are looking to prove that Doncic/KP duo is for real and that they will be a force in the Western Conference for years to come.
There is also the added interest from the reunion of Bobi and Tobi. The friendship between Boban Marjanovic and Tobias Harris is well documented and it be fun to see these two back on the court together, but this time as opponents.
Los Angeles Clippers
Tuesday, January 21st at 7:30 pm
The Clippers are loaded with talent and fun players to watch in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Lou Williams, Pat Beverly and Montrezl Harrell. They project to be the class of the Western Conference and the best perimeter defense in the NBA. I cannot wait to see how the young Mavericks respond to the physical and emotional pressure that this matchup will bring.
There are a lot of unknowns with this new Mavericks team. Most of the team is relatively young and unproven so I expect this game to be a good litmus test of whether the Mavs are still a year or two away from competing in the West or if everything will come together more quickly and they are able to make some noise immediately.
Also, don’t forget the drama that came to the AAC last year when the Mavs hosted the Clippers. Teeth were knocked out, players were ejected, and it was a really close hard fought game. Back and forth with big shots being hit all throughout the last few minutes of the game but it was DSJ who shut down Tobias Harris in the post for the game winning block.
The Clippers also come to Dallas on November 26th.
Sunday, March 29th at 2:00 pm
We don’t get to see the Bucks at home until near the end of the season but these guys are worth the wait.
The Greak Freak is an NBA force of nature that I urge every NBA fan to witness in person. His stature, skills, and ability to dunk from the free throw line in games make the Bucks one of the premier tickets of the year.
Porzingis and Antetokounmpo have had some great battles in the past and I am expecting more showdowns at the rim between these two this upcoming season. KP is one of the few players with the length and agility to stay in front of Giannis and contest his rim rocking dunks. This will also show whether the last year and a half of bulking up will allow Porzingis to compete down low with one of the best bullies in the post that the NBA has today.
Tuesday, April 7th at 7:30 pm
There are so many reasons to love this game. Division rivals, tons of star power, and the meeting of the NBA’s step-back Kings. Also, it was against the Rockets last season where Luka Doncic had his NBA coming out party in the infamous HalleLuka game.
With three minutes left in the fourth quarter Luka had only 10 points on 3 of 13 shooting as the Mavs trailed the Rockets 102-94, leaving them with just a 4% chance of winning the game at that time. Then, with song HalleLuka still ringing in Mavs fans heads from the live in arena performance by the creators of the song Isaac Lee and Jason Gallagher, something miraculous happened.
11 straight points from Luka Doncic put the Mavericks back on top as he punished Clint Capela and PJ Tucker with step backs and aggressive drives. Luka out-dueled the reigning MVP at just 19 years old with just 22 NBA games under his belt.
Aside from Dirk’s last home game this was the best Mavs home game of the entire season last year. Both teams have added talent and I am sure James Harden is going to want to exact some revenge against this embarrassment from last season.
Houston does not visit Dallas until until the end of March, but as we get closer and closer to the Playoffs I expect this game in early April to be a high pressure situation for both teams to secure their Playoff seeding.
October 23rd cannot come soon enough, this schedule release gets me fired up for some Dallas Mavericks basketball! Cheers to a great season ahead of us, LETS GO MAVS!