Dallas Mavericks: Next Two Games Key Before Rough Stretch of Schedule


The Dallas Mavericks sit at 7-4 after holding on to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night, with their next two games coming on the road against the Boston Celtics Wednesday and at home against the Utah Jazz on Friday. A 7-4 record 11 games in is reason for excitement and optimism for Mavericks fans, particularly since Chandler Parsons just had his best game of the season against Philly while appearing to have some of his explosiveness back.

But the next two games are key for Dallas, who will enter a rough stretch of the schedule immediately afterwards. Seven of the 10 games after Utah are on the road, with tilts against some of the best each conference has to offer. Dallas is sitting pretty in the standings right now, but a slide over that span could come back to bite them in the long run. With the team’s three best players figuring to be in and out of the lineup, winning these next two, both of which being very winnable games and coming after a night off, would be beneficial.

The Celtics were a hot-pick for team most likely to climb the standings in 2015-16, and have played well after dropping three of their first four games. They give up the fifth-fewest points per game (95.9) in the league and have eight players averaging at least 8 points a night. Turnovers could be the difference in this one. The Mavericks rank second in the league with 12.6 a game while the Celtics are more prone to mistake, ranking 25th with 16.3 per.

Utah is a team which with the Mavericks could be fighting for a playoff spot, so any head-to-head victory is important. Like with the game against Boston it will be a matchup of youth vs. experience. Utah is the second-youngest team in the league, but with Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, and Derrick Favors remains a very talented squad. The Jazz also boast the third-best defense in the league in terms of points allowed. Dallas must take advantage of every opportunity on the offensive end.

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After the Jazz on Friday, the Mavericks begin a three-game stretch on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and San Antonio Spurs. After a home game against the 5-5 Denver Nuggets the Mavericks matchup against Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins, and the Sacramento Kings, winners of three straight games as of Tuesday.

Oklahoma City has had some ups and downs while adjusting to new head coach Billy Donovan, but while they currently hold a rather pedestrian 6-5 record, any team featuring Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is a tough out. And though Memphis has been a major disappointment thus far, they won’t shoot 41%(28th in the league) from the floor forever.

The immediate future looks rather daunting for the Mavericks, but it’s also important to remember that Dallas has been impressive themselves for the majority of the season so far. Staying that way starts with the next two games.

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