Tuesday the 16th saw the Dallas Mavericks continue building their momentum of success after surmounting a commendable challenge from the Denver Nuggets in the 4th round. This is all good news for the Dallas hopefuls, but where does this place the Mavericks in this year’s season thus far, and what can we expect from them in coming games? Below we take a look at the recent game and explore what it can tell us about the squad’s chances this year.
There’s no mistaking the fact that the Denver side was worn out heading into the game, having played their third game in only four nights. Irrespective of the team’s relative readiness for play, victory for the Mavs may ultimately prove totemic, with the Nuggets being the first team with a winning record Dallas has vanquished this year.
Kristaps Porzingis led on the scoring, with 29 points proving decisive in the outcome in spite of the fact that Nikola Jokic tallied 35 for the ailing Nuggets. The game showed everyone that the Mavs can carry themselves with composure against a statistically stronger side and weather the pressure. The victory now puts the Mavericks at 9-4 for the season, with bookmakers reflecting favorable NBA betting odds on the side that now sits in 3rd place in the Western Conference rankings. This estimation is understandable, given that the Dallas side have won five of the previous six games.
Analysts point to the squad finally coming together as a cohesive unit. Many have heralded the victory as the official arrival of Latvian hopeful Porzingis, who has hitherto struggled to deliver on his potential when under pressure and has only recently returned from a five game absence. The 26 year old has been looking to find his place in the top flight of the NBA for some time. His skill-set, prioritizing play in both the power forward and center positions, is augmented by the fact he is currently among the tallest professional players in the world, standing at 7ft 3 inches, or 221cm tall.
Porzingis got his start playing in the EuroLeague with Sevilla back in 2021, moving up through the tiers and age brackets until coming to lead the senior team in 2013. In 2015, shortly after his recognition as a player by way of becoming the youngest ever player to win the EuroCup Basketball Rising Star award, he found himself in the NBA draft at the age of just 18. Porzingis then began playing for the New York Knicks. Despite some good performances, disagreement with the management led to Porzingis being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019, where he has remained to this day and continues to eke out his presence in the team, and the NBA in general.
What’s next for Dallas?
It was a near David vs Goliath match-up as the Mavs, situated around 27th in the league, took on a top ten team and displayed to everyone that in favorable conditions they can bring a high quality of play to the court. The following bout with the Phoenix Suns will tell analysts a lot about whether the team has integrated some of the lessons from this bout, and undoubtedly all eyes will be on Porzingis to put in another strong offensive drive for points.
The Maverick’s season thus far has seen them do a virtual who’s who tour of the strongest defensive squads in the league. The Denver Nuggets are ranked third, with Miami Heat in 8th, the Boston Celtics in 10th and the Chicago Bulls in 7th. While Dallas have won to some and lost to others. The question remains as to how the Mavericks can develop their game in the face of top tier defense. The Suns will once again put this to test, ranking 4th in the league for defense, with a host of talented wingers ready to expose any flaws in the Mavs’ offensive game.