For the slumping Mavericks week six cannot arrive quickly enough. Dallas would like to forget a frustrating week five that saw them lose three of four games. The week began with their second consecutive loss to the Denver Nuggets by a score of 110-96. The Mavericks then followed a 103-99 home win against the Golden State Warriors with a disappointing loss in Atlanta. Dallas scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Hawks rallied from 17 points down to pull out the 88-87 win. Jose Calderon sprained his ankle in the second half and is still listed as day-to-day with the injury.
The short-handed Mavericks had the opportunity to earn a split for the week against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Nov. 30. This is where the week went from bad to worse. Dallas tried a number of roster combinations, but they had no answer for the versatile Timberwolves roster. Center Nikola Pekovic abused the Mavericks for 21 points on the inside and shooting guard Kevin Martin torched Dallas for 27 points from the perimeter.
The Mavericks looked like a team that needed a day off and a few days of practice. Fortunately for Dallas they play only three games in week six. The No. 7 and No. 13 team in the Western Conference are separated by only two games. Dallas is currently sitting at 10-8 and cannot afford any more disappointing weeks in the tightly contested Western Conference.
Tuesday, Dec. 3 vs. Charlotte Bobcats
The Charlotte Bobcats have been one of the worst franchises in the NBA for the past three seasons. The only silver lining to the Bobcats struggles are the high draft picks their losing record has yielded them. For three straight years, the Bobcats have had a top 10 pick in the NBA draft. This has furnished the Bobcats with an influx of young talent that is beginning to improve their situation. Desperate to land a free agent, the Bobcats also signed forward Al Jefferson to a three-year contract for $41 million this past offseason.
2011 first-round draft pick, point guard Kemba Walker, is the most talented young player in Charlotte. Walker is a dangerous guard who averages 16.0 points, 4.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. While Walker poses a legitimate threat, the rest of the Bobcats offense may be just what the Mavericks defense needs. The Bobcats are averaging the fewest points scored in the league at 88.6 per game. After a disappointing week, followed by two days off, Dallas should come in hungry to defeat the 8-10 Bobcats.
Wednesday, Dec. 4 at New Orleans Pelicans
At 8-8, the Pelicans are quietly only one game behind the Mavericks entering the sixth week of the season. The Pelicans came into the season with a number of new players and they are still finding their collective groove. To date they have beaten the weaker teams on their schedule while struggling against the teams they have faced with a winning record.
This could be the Mavericks biggest game of the week. They are expect
ed to handle the Bobcats on Monday and they will be underdogs at Portland later in the week. This game could very well swing their week. The Pelicans offensive combination of point guard Jrue Holiday, shooting guard Eric Gordon and forward Ryan Anderson will challenge Dallas defensively. Pelicans forward Anthony Davis suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand on Sunday night, Dec 1st. There is no timetable for Davis’ return at this time but he is not expected to play at all during the week of Dec. 2nd.
Saturday, Dec. 7 at Portland Trail Blazers
Dallas heads to the Northwest for a game against one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the 14-3 Portland Trail Blazers. Portland’s successful offseason has translated to on-court production better than anyone imagined. The Trail Blazers bolstered their bench with a series of moves(Click here for more detail) that have left them deeper than most of the opponents they have faced.
The home court advantage that the Trail Blazers had for so many years has returned with the great start to the Trail Blazers season. Portland is 6-1 in the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Portland is led by forward LaMarcus Aldridge and dynamic second-year point guard Damian Lillard. This game provides Dallas with an opportunity to prove they can contend with the top teams in the Western Conference.