Dallas Mavericks advantage over Denver Nuggets: 2. Mavs can contain Joker
The simple truth Mavericks fans must accept is Dallas does not have the roster to stop Nikola Jokic. Containing him is an achievable goal, though.
The Mavericks have a good rotation of big men who provide different defensive strengths when it comes to slowing a player like Jokic down. Dallas has made a living picking and choosing their defensive sacrifices.
Dallas will have to audible and place most of their paint defensive schemes on forcing Jokic into tough shots because sacrificing large scoring outputs from guards has been a risk Dallas is willing to take, and it’s paid off.
For instance, in a 113-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets on May 6, the Mavericks wings (in large part thanks to Dorian Finney-Smith’s efforts) held Kevin Durant to 20 points and still came out on top, despite 45 from Kyrie Irving. Anthony Davis, albeit in limited minutes due to injury recovery, only scored four and 17 points in a recent series against Dallas, even though Dennis Schroeder was unstoppable both from beyond the arc and attacking the rim.
The Mavericks have proven this year that they can step up and limit shooting bigs for other teams. They are willing to let guards take a heavy load of the scoring duty.
It seems redundant to say, but Kristaps Porzingis’s health plays the largest factor in how the Mavericks can switch on Jokic. KP’s first playoff series only provided a limited sample size, but he stepped up when healthy and even logged a 34 point, 13 rebound game. If Porzingis stays on the court, he must show the league that his rim protection hasn’t lost a step in the three ball era.
Next: No. 1