The Mavericks enter week 11 trying to move past a sorely disappointing end to week 10. The Mavericks won their first two matchups of the week against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Washington Wizards and they were well on their way to defeating the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Dallas had a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and the Clippers were playing without Chris Paul, who injured his shoulder earlier in the game. The Clippers stepped up defensively and shut the Mavericks offense down for the remainder of the game. The Clippers went on a 16-2 run and secured the 119-112 victory.
The Mavericks then failed to take advantage of great opportunity to bounce back at home against the New York Knicks on Sunday at the American Airlines Center. Led by Carmelo Anthony’s 15 first-quarter points, the Knicks led by 12 at the end of one. The Mavericks closed the gap to six points with 1:33 to play but Iman Shumpert answered with a 3-pointer and New York pulled away for the 92-80 victory.
The Mavericks enter week 11 with a record of 19-15 and they are currently the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Dallas failed to take advantage of the Los Angeles Clippers without Chris Paul for much of the game and a Knicks team that was without Tyson Chandler for all but a few minutes of their Sunday matchup.
The Mavericks will have to improve their play if they want to keep pace with the rest of the Western Conference. A first-round matchup with the Oklahoma City, Portland Trail Blazers or San Antonio Spurs would make the Mavericks playoff run a short one. Dirk Nowitzki told the media after the loss to the Clippers that he didn’t feel the Mavericks were a playoff team.
It should be noted that Nowitzki is not a player who makes flippant comments without carefully choosing his words. Dallas does not have the luxury of continuing to let games get away from them without paying the price late in the season.
Tuesday, Jan. 7 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Mavericks welcome in an opponent that provides them with a great opportunity to break their four-game losing streak at the American Airlines Center. At 14-20, the Lakers continue to struggle without guard Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles has dropped seven of their last eight games heading into the week. The Mavericks should come out hungry and focused against a struggling Lakers team.
Wednesday, Jan. 8 at San Antonio Spurs
The Mavericks head to San Antonio for a tough road matchup against the Spurs. For yet another season, the Spurs continue to play great basketball. The Spurs have been at or near the top of the Western Conference standings once again.
The Spurs defeated the Mavericks 116-107 on Dec. 26 at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks had no answer for the Spurs’ superb ball movement and they will be tested again in San Antonio. Dallas has failed to defeat the Spurs and Clippers on their home court in recent weeks and they could use a road win against a team of San Antonio’s caliber.
Friday, Jan. 10 at New Orleans Pelicans, Saturday, Jan. 11 vs. New Orleans Pelicans
The Mavericks face the New Orleans Pelicans in a rare back-to-back set of games. The Pelicans enter the week with a 15-17 record but Dallas cannot over look anyone right now. The Mavericks narrowly defeated New Orleans 100-97 on Dec. 4 at the American Airlines Center and while sweeping the Pelicans is ideal for Dallas, a split of the two games is likely.