The Dallas Mavericks are set to face off against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, as they face a particularly tough matchup despite the Lakers 20-21 record. Dallas is coming off of a seven-game homestand where they finished 5-2, but the Mavericks had to find unique ways to win amidst several injuries to key players such as Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, and Dante Exum.
Dallas' rebounding and defense have been extremely spotty recently, as the Mavericks have been able to put together good quarters and halves, but not a full game of crashing the glass and getting after it defensively.
This might be because Dallas lacks physicality, as the Mavericks found themselves helpless throughout certain stretches against the New Orleans Pelicans in their recent two-game stretch because of the physicality that New Orleans presented across the board. Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd pointed to this after Dallas' first loss to New Orleans during the home-and-home.
Dallas Mavericks’ key to winning is obvious, but not easy to sustain
The Mavericks came out in their second game against New Orleans with a point of emphasis toward setting the tone defensively and on the glass, but the unrelenting force of Zion Williamson gave them fits all night as Dallas had no one physical enough to guard him at the point of attack.
Expecting Mavericks defenders to anchor down against perhaps the biggest physical anomaly in the league is a tall task, but Dallas can’t stand to struggle consistently on defense against typical role players time and time again like they did against New Orleans.
The Mavericks have shown the ability to trap schematically to contain superstars at the point of attack when their lack of defensive prowess becomes prevalent in some games, but they also are going to have to live with some one-on-one matchups as well.
Grant Williams was a physical force on the wing to start the season for Dallas on defense and is working to ramp up ahead of the playoffs. Regardless, he still doesn’t have the size to contain some of the taller wings in the league.
Dallas’ issue to their physicality will need to be addressed soon, as rookie Dereck Lively II has been as energetic as one could hope for, but may not have the brute strength to overpower stronger opponents at the rim and on the glass all the time. Dallas could certainly look to trade for a player to help with their physicality woes, preferably a power forward as it’s Dallas’ biggest area of need.
But if Dallas can’t address this issue via trade, then they’ll need to continue to make a better group effort toward getting more physical through four quarters of play. Dallas has solid point-of-attack defenders in Derrick Jones Jr., Josh Green, and Dante Exum, but none of them have excellent size nor the physicality required to guard some of the larger dynamic wings in the NBA today.
We’ll see how Dallas fares against the Lakers tonight, as Los Angeles poses an extremely physical front-court with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But until then we’ll have you covered with the latest surrounding the Dallas Mavericks, so stay tuned.