The schizophrenic Dallas Mavericks have some soul searching to do and Rick Carlisle is likely to try some new things. After a 4-1 start the Mavericks have lost three straight and after unexpected early success the team has fallen flat on its face.
There is no better opportunity to experiment than playing the Washington Wizards, one of only two teams remaining without a single victory (the other being the Detroit Pistons).
Looking at the stat lines it’s easy to understand why the Wizards are where they are. They are shooting only 39.5% as a team and being outscored by opponents by over 8 ppg. Half a dozen guys are averaging 8-10 ppg but only two are in double figures, led by the third pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Bradley Beal, who averages 12.2 and hasn’t had any success finding his shot.
The Wizards, of course, are missing their two best players, John Wall and Nene Hilario, both of whom are out indefinitely with injuries. While there is plenty of room for improvement regardless, there isn’t likely to be great progress without them.
For the Mavericks, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News suggests their may be some changes to the starting lineup which makes sense. With Dirk Nowitzki still out and Shawn Marion scratched for at least one more game, Rick Carlisle is searching for combinations that work. Putting Chris Kaman into the starting lineup was always the plan and for the most part Kaman has been the Mavs most complete player this season along with O. J. Mayo. Inserting Dahntay Jones and Bernard James could yield big benefits in defense and rebounding, both of which have been sporadic at best.
The Mavericks need to show they can be competitive against quality competition and the Wizards don’t provide it. The good news is that without a complete meltdown, it should be a chance for a win. After losing three straight the Mavericks aren’t likely to take any team lightly and they shouldn’t. The team needs to concentrate on making shots, rebounding and steering clear of turnovers. It’s really that simple. The Mavs have two more games coming up against mediocre teams in the Indiana Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers but it won’t be long before opponents with winning records come along and the time to get things situated is now.
Game time is 7:30 P.M. CST at the American Airlines Center.