A deep dive into the toughest portion of the 2023-24 Dallas Mavericks schedule

The new NBA schedule has been released, and the Dallas Mavericks face a tough task in the months of December and January.
Dallas Mavericks, Mavericks schedule, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Mavericks schedule, Luka Doncic / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks' toughest juncture of their season will come during the winter. They will face opponents with an average winning percentage of .507 in December (based on last year's NBA standings).

This doesn't sound too terrible at first glance, but Dallas is dealing with a much improved Western Conference this year comparable to last year. Thirteen of the Mavericks' 14 games in December will be against Western Conference opponents, many of whom improved drastically this summer.

Toughest portion of the 2023-24 Dallas Mavericks schedule falls in December and January

The Mavericks could also play an additional game depending on how they fare in the NBA's inaugural mid-season tournament. The In-Season tournament could be an exciting new wrinkle for players to look forward to amid a monotonous 82-game season, but it won't be a walk in the park, especially if Dallas advances far and loses some rest days.

That being said, Dallas has its fair set of winnable contests against projected non-playoff teams toward the end of December and at the beginning of January. They are set to face off against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs on a back-to-back on December 22 and December 23.

However, things quickly get more difficult, as after a Christmas Day affair against the Phoenix Suns, the Mavericks will face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Golden State Warriors before getting a little bit of relief to start the new year.

They'll face off against the Utah Jazz on the road on New Year's Day, and then they'll play the Portland Trail Blazers at home twice on January 3 and January 5. The Mavericks don't face another squad in the whole month of January that didn't make the playoffs last year.

Barring a home and home against the New Orleans Pelicans on January 13 and January 15, as well as a January 29 affair against the Sacramento Kings, the Mavericks will be flooded with tough matchups that will keep them on their toes all month.

The Mavs play the Phoenix Suns once again on January 24 for the NBA's newly-introduced rivals week. And the contest is preluded by a nationally televised game against the much-improved Los Angeles Lakers on January 17 at Crypto.com Arena, a matchup against the Golden State Warriors on the road on January 19, as well as the aforementioned return of Porzingis to Dallas.

Dallas plays all four of their contests against the Minnesota Timberwolves, three of their four games against the Memphis Grizzlies, two of their affairs versus the Lakers, and two of their contests against the Warriors in the months of December and January.

Jalen Brunson is scheduled to make his first return to Dallas on January 11 after missing last year's battle with an injury, so that game will be no slouch. Combine that with a game each versus the NBA champion Denver Nuggets and up-and-coming Kings, and you can see why the winter could potentially turn into a cold whirlwind in Dallas.

Again, the Mavericks will have no time to feel sorry for themselves amidst a painstakingly difficult December and January slate. But if they can stay poised and keep their foot on the pedal against lesser opponents when they have the opportunity to do so, they should be alright.

Despite how much the Mavericks improved this offseason, they'll need to answer questions about their rough winter slate this season, as failure to do so could result in Dallas having a low seed in the playoffs or even a drop into the Play-In Tournament once the season comes to a close.