Dallas Mavericks: Two-game road stint begins in Indiana on Saturday

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks make their way to Indianapolis Saturday when they take on the No. 3 team in the Eastern Conference, Indiana Pacers.

On the first leg of a two-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks (20-24) visit the surging Indiana Pacers (29-15) Saturday night (7 p.m. start).

Winners of seven of their last 10 games, Indian finds itself 3.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Dallas continues to spiral downward (3-5 in the month of January), resting at No. 13 in the Western Conference. Current standings aside, Dallas has won the last three meetings, dating back to December 9, 2016.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they will be without guards J.J. Barea and Dennis Smith Jr. Barea suffered a season-ending injury (torn Achilles) against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 11. The spark plug off the bench will be missed. The savvy vet, along with Devin Harris, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Maxi Kleber, makes up Dallas’ most successful lineup (10-5 record, 13.8 Net Rating).

As for Smith Jr. (sore back), the absence is due to a bit more than the injury listed. Fans are finding it difficult to understand what has caused a dark cloud to form over the relationship between Dallas’ front office and the second-year point guard. The two parties have not been able to come to an agreement on the future of the disgruntled guard, but the feeling around the league is that a trade is imminent.

In the interim, rookie guard Luka Doncic continues to steer the ship with a steady hand, leading the team in scoring (20.3). The generational talent does more than wow fans at American Airlines Center, and lap his counterparts in Rookie of the Year discussions. According to third returns in All-Star voting, Doncic is now the third-leading vote-getter in a stacked ballot. Impressive.

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Dallas concludes its road trip on Monday, as they visit MVP-frontrunner, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks. Gametime is set for 8:30 p.m. As always, go Mavs!