MFFL Weekly: Issue 1

This is your weekly Dallas Mavericks recap, current standings, and look into the week ahead. I will break down each game of the week, provide highlights, stats, funny/interesting game moments. I will also track the Mavericks path to the 2020 NBA Playoffs by providing current Western Conference and Southwest Division standings. Finally we will look ahead at the coming slate of games to see what is in store for MFFL’s next week.

This Past Week (Week 1: 10/7-10/13)

Preseason Game 1 at (Tulsa) Oklahoma City

Tuesday, October 8th

Loss: 119-104

Not much to see here…3 out of 5 projected starters sat out the game including Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis because of the pending back-to-back schedule. Justin Jackson looked really good with his mid-range floaters and shooting the three, scoring 14 points in just 15 minutes.

Maxi Kleber was the only other player with a good offensive game, matching Jackson’s 14 points in in 15 minutes including 2 threes and 2 blocks. A solid showing for Maxi, however, I would like to see him be more of a factor on the boards, 1 rebound per 15 minutes is not going to cut it.

Another notable development from this game is the performance of undrafted Rookie out of Penn State, Josh Reaves. He led the team with 24 minutes and scored 8 points on just 3 of 10 shooting. The impressive part clearly wasn’t his shotmaking, but his defensive energy and presence on the court was very encouraging for a young player that the Mavs are looking to groom into a rotation player.

The Thunder played all of their starters including Chris Paul (17 mins), Danilo Gallinari (17 mins), and Steven Adams (21 mins). Second year Point Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had the most impressive night for OKC racking up 24 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 26 minutes.

Preseason Game 2 at Detroit

Wednesday, October 9th

Loss: 124-117

This was it, the night that MFFL’s worldwide have been waiting for since January 31st when the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis. This was night that Luka Doncic and Porzingis finally stepped on the same court together in an NBA game. As expected, this dynamic young duo did not disappoint.

Luka Doncic picked right up where he left off last season, toying with defenders, nailing tough shots, and making plays for his teammates. Anybody who thinks Luka is a one-hit wonder in the NBA, you’re wrong, this guy is an absolute Superstar with no ceiling in sight. In 28 minutes Luka scored 21 points on 7-18 from the floor, had 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and only 2 turnovers. There was a lot of good from Doncic this game but the areas he needed to improve are still apparent, going 2-8 from three and 5-10 from the foul line. With slight improvements in three point and free throw efficiency, Luka Doncic could skyrocket his offensive game to elite status very quickly. He is way to good of a shooter to hover around 70% on his free-throws like he did last year.

Kristaps Porzingis is good…really good. He wasted no time getting involved in the action as Luka and KP accounted for Mavericks first 12 points (4 from Luka then 8 straight from KP). Porzingis looks decisive, skilled, fluid, and so freaking tall! In his first 19 NBA minutes since February of 2018, Porzingis shot 7-18 from the floor for 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. The Luka/KP pick-and-pop is already proving to be an extremely deadly combo and these guys have only played a combined 19 minutes together in a game.

With the game close down the stretch in the fourth quarter (Mavs 102 – Pistons 108, 4:45 left) the Mavericks did not have any of their starters still on the floor. We will have to wait until another day to see the Mavs stars play in crunch time.

Preseason Game 3 vs Milwaukee

Friday, October 11th

Loss: 118-111

Aside from the short open practice, this is the first time that Mavericks fans have been able to see Luka and KP on the court together here in Dallas. All of the Mavs fans who were at the game were fired up and ready to see the new era of Mavericks basketball begin.

When it came down to it, with the staring units for both teams still on the floor, Giannis was just too much and the Mavs, including Porzingis, just did not make enough shots. Any time the Mavs turned the ball over it was Giannis on the other end thundering the ball through the hoop. You may be able to contain him in the half court but if he gets out in the open floor it is game over. He is too fast, too strong, too skilled, and too elusive to stop when he is running at you with numbers. Usually you can back off and hope he passes but tonight Giannis knocked down 3 of 4 from three point range. If that trend continues, consider Giannis a lock for 2020 MVP.

Luka left the game with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in 23 minutes of play while Giannis dominates in his 23 minutes with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists. Kristaps Porzingis on the other hand struggled mightily shooting the ball in the first half, and throughout the game, finishing with 11 points on 4-13 shooting for the game.

There are several players still trying to find their groove in this deep Mavericks roster. Seth Curry and Delon Wright had very lackluster game with a combined 0 points on 0-7 shooting. Delon is not known as a scorer but he is going to have to be an offensive threat at the least. He showed flashes of sneaky defense and did a good job of moving the ball around but I will be looking for him to be a little more aggressive in the next few games. Seth curry on the other hand, I guess we can just chalk this up to a bad shooting night. He had several open looks that you expect him to knock down but he still did not seem like he was as confortbale in the offense as he was a few years ago when playing under Rick Carlisle. As the rotation clears up and divinities roles are given out, I expect both of these guys to elevate their games beyond what we are seeing right now.

Justin Jackson showed me that he is in fact the right guy for the starting Small Forward role. He shoots confidently and effectively from deep and he is a killer when he gets in the lane and can use his floater. We do not need a shot chucker like Tim Hardaway, Jr. in the starting lineup, we need efficient shooting and finishing to create an optimal lineup to compete with other starting units.

When the 4th quarter hit and all the reserves were in, it was the Jalen Brunson show. JJ is not going to be able to get minutes on this team with Jalen Brunson playing like this. He gets to the rim, knocks down threes, and makes incredible plays for teammates to get easy layups.

Despite the crowd being half empty and in the last 2 minutes of a meaningless preseason game with the starters on the bench, Mavs fans were eager for an elusive first win of the year. As the game closed down to its final minute the Mavs were within 5 points and the crowd could taste it. DEFENSE chants rang throughout the AAC and MFFLs hung on every free throw but it was all in vain as the Mavs dropped their third straight game to a score of 118-111 in front of the home crowd.

Today

This is the section in the future where I will put current Western Conference and Southwest Division Standings to track the Mavericks path to the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Preseason wins and losses mean nothing so I will not even bother until the regular season gets going.

Where we stand today is Rick Carlisle trying to figure out how to put these lineups together to get the most of out the talent on this roster. We have yet to see the Mavericks full starting lineup on display with Dwight Powell missing the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. Word has now come out that Powell will sit the rest of the preseason and will be re-evaluated thereafter. With Powell out I have major concerns about the frontcourt depth on this roster. If Powell, Kleber, or Porzingis miss time then this roster is stretched really thin and will be punished on the glass.

Justin Jackson seems to be distancing himself as the favorite to start alongside Delon Wright, Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dwight Powell. We will see how this develops throughout the rest of the preseason and whether or not he can hold off Hardaway, Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith for the starting role.

This Upcoming Week (Week 2: 10/14-10/20)

More Preseason this upcoming week, but this will be the last week before the 2019-2020 NBA Regular season tips-off. The Mavs have their last two preseason games, one at home and one on the road, to get ready for the real thing on October 23rd.

Preseason Game 4 vs Oklahoma City

Monday, October 14th 7:30 CT

A replay of preseason game 1 except this time on the Mavs home floor. This is a good chance to watch Chris Paul and company before they all get traded mid-season.

We still will nto be able to see our entire starting lineup with Dwight Powell being ruled out for the remainder of the preseason with a hamstring injury. Regardless, all of these opportunities to get both Luka and Porzingis on the floor together are so valuable to start building team chemistry. Other new players like Delon Wright, Seth Curry, and Justin Jackson are still working to find their role and rhythm on the team.

Preseason Game 5 at LA Clippers

Thursday, October 17th 9:30 CT

I hope everyone plays in this game including our guys and theirs. Seeing Luka and Porzingis square off against Kawhi Leonard ad Paul George would be an incredible way to put a bow on the preseason and get the Mavs ready to play. I anticipate the LA Clippers being one of the best defensive teams in the League this year with the likes of Kawhi, PG, and Patrick Beverley hounding defenders.

Luka has had very strong games against both of these guys last year as a Rookie, but can he take it to both of them on the same team? That is a whole other question. It is a shame this game is on the road rather than here at the AAC but I find it an exciting last preseason game nonetheless.

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