Dallas Mavericks: Why are the Mavs better against good teams?
By Kohl Rast
The Dallas Mavericks have played most of their best games against the best teams in the league. What is causing that disparity?
The expression “Play to the level of your opponent” is one the Dallas Mavericks must have taken to heart this year. Unfortunately for the Mavs, they are a really talented team and in order to play to the level of many of their opponents, they need to play below the level that they are capable of. We have seen this on at least three occasions so far this year.
So what is it about the Mavs that just can’t seem to separate themselves from the bad teams, but can stay neck and neck with the top teams in the league? Let’s dive into some of the games we have seen from Dallas so far this year.
Dallas vs. Denver
This was the Mavs first sign of truly competing with the best teams in the league. Despite the worst performance from the combined tandem of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavs found a way to beat a team that will undoubtedly be in the playoffs for the Western Conference and will likely be a top four seed.
This was done by way of the bench really stepping up when they were needed. All five of the Mavericks bench players in that game scored in double-digits and combined for a total of 61 points, 17 rebounds, 18 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. This was the key to victory.
Dallas vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Even though the Mavs lost this game, they played great. This time, it was Luka who carried the team with a 30-point triple-double and some clutch buckets. Dallas lost thanks to the refs who were obviously wearing yellow and purple underneath their stripes, but overall it was a great Mavs game.
In this one, the Mavs bench didn’t play great, but they were decent. The real reason the Mavs had this game in the back was because it was one of their best three-point shooting performances of the year. This was still despite one of the worst turnover games for the team this season.
Dallas vs. Orlando
The Mavs nearly lost to the Magic and probably should have, but they fought when they needed to and snuck out a W. Despite Luka’s solid stat line, he was not good in this game. Porzingis was bad and the Mavs bench was pretty average.
The big moments in this game came thanks to a crazy stretch of play from J.J. Barea and then the closing mentality of Luka. Either way, Orlando is one of the worst teams in the league and the Mavs looked like they thought they could walk in and win, no matter what. They did win, but it cost over 37 minutes of Luka in what could have been a good rest game for him.
Dallas vs. New York (x2)
The Mavericks were simply outplayed by the worst team in the league twice in a week. They got no help from the bench in either game and couldn’t stop the Knicks from hitting every shot they wanted. A lot of this had to do with Porzingis, but the Mavericks should have been more prepared in this one.
If Marcus Morris is the name you bring up for why you lost, you deserved those losses.
The point of this is that there is no rhyme or reason to why the Mavs can’t seem to outplay their opponents on a regular basis. The bench has been inconsistent and the shooting has been inconsistent, but anything can happen for the Mavs to outplay their abilities/expectations or allow the other team to play with them when they shouldn’t be able to. Hopefully it changes.