By The Uncool Urban
The Mavericks are adjusting to new rotations yet again in their current homestand.
The Dallas Mavericks are currently in the middle of a six game homestand which so far has been a split of wins and losses. The homestand started last Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs in what was the debut of the newest addition to the Mavs, Justin Holiday. Holiday would score 15 points against the division rivals going 5-6 from the perimeter. Coach Jason Kidd said of the performance, “As I talked about, he can start here. Just to look at that, see how he does in a starting role. He’s a pro, he’s been in the league, won a championship, he’s happy to be here and he’s going to do whatever it takes to help his team win…” Holiday’s contribution was accompanied by the backcourt of Kyrie Irving (23) and Luka Doncic (28) who scored a combined 51 points in the 142-114 victory.
The next game was a star-studded event on a Sunday afternoon, Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahommes, Erykah Badu, Von Miller, and Hall of Famer to be Dirk Nowitzki were amongst those in the sold-out crowd to see Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers come to town. The Mavericks would start strong and even lead by 27 points at one point and even 14 points at the half. Unfortunately for Dallas, Jarred Vanderbilt came to play and put on a defensive performance with four steals and nine defensive boards that assisted in his double double (15 points, 17 rebounds).
Vanderbilt had his hands full on both sides of the court with him being the guy who defended Doncic a majority of the night, as for the game he had he said, “I really was just trying to up the intensity, be a little bit more physical. I knew we needed it at that point. Just try to bring the energy, bring the effort and just try to change the game momentum-wise. Obviously, shots weren’t falling early on for us, so we were able to get out and rolling, crash the glass, get some steals, force some turnovers, and that kind of just changed the game for us.” The all-star frontcourt of Lebron and Anthony Davis had a total 56 combined points in the contest. The Mavs would fall to the Lakers, 111-108.
James also suffered a tendon injury in the 3rd quarter. As for the status of his injury, “It’s been better. I definitely wasn’t going to go to the locker room without finishing the game out tonight. I just understood the importance of the game and the momentum that we had, I felt like we could steal one after being down. We’ll monitor it for the next couple of days to see how it feels and we’ll go from there.” As of the time of this article, the timetable for James to return to play is three weeks.
Tuesday night, Rick Carlisle returned to the American Airlines Center for the first time since parting ways with Dallas. Prior to the game, he revealed that he and the Pacers had been in town since that Saturday and they even had an unorthodox shootaround at Buddy Hield’s home in Preston Hollow. It was also Luka’s birthday in which Carlisle’s gift for him was, “Tyrese Haliburton”. Haliburton would go on to score 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in the 124-122 defeat. This game was decided by a missed three point attempt by Kyrie Irving. Kai, in Coach Kidd’s opinion, “… had the option for the 2 or the 3. He had a good look, I thought it was good.” This game was also the return of Maxi Kleber who earlier in the season suffered a right hamstring tear and contributed 9 points and a block in the contest.
The final game of the week took place Thursday when the Philadelphia 76ers came to town. The backcourt of Irving and Doncic were clicking on all cylinders resulting in them having a combined 82 points in the 133-126 victory. Luka’s 42 and Kai’s 40 was the first time in Mavericks history that two Mavs players scored 40+ in the same game and the fifth in NBA history. Irving said of the performance, “It’s one game. I think a lot of people would like to make a bit of an emphasis on how many games we’ve lost, but I think, for us right now, we’re just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. When we’re out there playing, it’s not going to look perfect all the time but when we’re aggressive and we’re making quick moves and being decisive, our offense flourishes.”
This homestand concludes when Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns come to the AAC on Sunday (Noon CT) and the Utah Jazz on Tuesday (7:30 P/CT) before heading to New Orleans and Memphis to wrap up the week.
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