At 42-29, the Dallas Mavericks schedule isn’t just winding down, it’s getting tougher.
After a 107-104 over time loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Mavericks will conclude the week and month facing the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, and Sacramento Kings.
Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, and probably even small forward Shawn Marion will have the daunting task of trying to slow down the likes of Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Chris Paul, and Isaiah Thomas.
Is He In Or Out?
The Thunder did the Mavericks a favor when they decided to hold out Westbrook in the 109-86 Mavericks’ win. With the Thunder holding Westbrook in one game per back-to-backs and his recent knee scare, it would come to no surprise if the Thunder elect to keep Westbrook out again against the Mavericks.
If Westbrook is in the lineup and with Marion guarding the NBA’s scoring leader Kevin Durant, Ellis and Calderon will have the responsibility of finding a way to keep the explosive Westbrook out of the paint. On the season, Westbrook is averaging 21.2 points and 7.0 assists.
If Westbrook is a no-go, Jackson will fill in his place again. In the previous meeting Jackson finished with 13 points and 3 assists. Jackson is nowhere near the player Westbrook is, but his speed and athleticism can be a problem for the Mavericks.
Best In The Business
Chris Paul is hands down the best point guard in the game today. His ability to score all over the court, create for his teammates, and defend make him a nightmare on both sides of the court. With much of the Clippers’ offense dictated and centered around the play of Paul, expect the Mavericks to try to get the ball out of his hands. Paul’s ability to break down the defense creates scoring opportunities for himself, open looks for his teammates, and rebounding chances for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Small But Plays Big
The Kings’ Thomas has earned himself a payday with his play this season. The 5’9″ guard is averaging 20.5 points and 6.3 assists per game. Thomas has the ability to pull from deep and get inside the paint. If it isn’t bad enough, the Kings also throw out DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, making it tougher for the defense to primarily focus on Thomas.
As we’ve witnessed all season, the Mavericks have greatly struggled to contain opposing point guards. With every possible playoff matchup containing a threat at the point guard, now is the time for the Mavericks to show some kind of plan to slow down these guards. If not, the Mavericks can easily find themselves outside of the playoff picture very soon.