The Dallas Mavericks enter the third week of the season with a record of 4-3. Through seven games Dallas has beaten the teams they were expected to win against, but they have failed to defeat any of the three teams they have faced with a superior record.
The Mavericks started the season with an 0-3 record on the road but they found a way to win their first road game in four attempts on Saturday night, Nov. 9, against the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite 19 turnovers, Dallas held on to the lead in the fourth quarter en route to a 91-83 win. For Dallas to make the playoffs in the Western Conference they must find a way to improve their road play. They will get their chance this week with two of their three games away from the American Airlines Center.
Tuesday, Nov. 12 vs. Washington Wizards
The Wizards visit Dallas with a disappointing record of 2-4. The Wizards entered the season with a deeper team that carried higher expectations than they have had in past years. Star point guard John Wall was beginning the season healthy and the supporting cast in Washington has improved from last season.
The Wizards may carry a losing record into their contest in Dallas on Nov. 12, but they are a dangerous team. Washington has scored more than 100 points in four of their first five games. Dallas has struggled early in the season on the defensive side of the ball and any prolonged lapses against Washington could prove fatal. Fortunately for the Mavericks, they have played their best basketball at home. The Mavericks following game on their schedule is a visit to the home of the two-time defending champions, the Miami Heat. Dallas can ill-afford to start the week 0-1 with a matchup at Miami on deck.
Friday, Nov. 15 at Miami Heat
Dallas visits the Miami Heat for their second game of the week. As daunting as the matchup appears to be on paper, the Heat have surprisingly dropped three of their first seven games. If Dallas is lacking any confidence as they take the court in Miami, they can look to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are in rebuilding mode but found a way to pull off the upset in Miami, 111-110 on Nov. 9.
Miami has appeared to lack motivation when playing against teams that are not expected to be contenders. This is understandable for a team coming off back-to-back championships. This won’t be the case for long as losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics will likely serve as a reminder to Miami that any team can actually win on any given night. Don’t expect Miami to look too far past the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas is the last team to prevent the current version of the Miami Heat from winning an NBA championship.
Saturday, Nov. 16 at Orlando Magic
The Mavericks finish the week with a contest in Orlando on Saturday, Nov. 16. The Magic may be rebuilding but they are not a team to be taken lightly. The Magic began the season winning three of their first four home games.
The matchup against the Magic will likely determine if the Mavericks leave week three with a winning record. The Mavericks have to find ways to continue defeating teams they are superior to in order to keep pace in the Western Conference. The Magic are better than most people expected them to be, but a veteran Dallas team should find a way leave Orlando with a victory in hand.