The Dallas Mavericks were one of the few teams that set the bar year in and year out during the regular season. They made the playoffs 12 years in a row, going to the NBA Finals in 2006 and winning it all in 2011. Dirk Nowitzki had knee surgery just before the start of the 2012 season and was forced to miss the first 27 games. The Mavs didn’t fare well and missed the playoffs for the first time since Mark Cuban’s first season in 1999-00. The team finished 41-41 and 10th in the West. Now the new-look Mavericks, with Nowitzki fully healthy, are poised to make another run in the Western Conference.
October/November: The Dallas Mavericks open up the 2013-14 season on October 30 at home against the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavs start by playing five straight 2012-13 playoff teams (Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder). They finish the month out with 13 games in 24 days, seven at home, six on the road. Seven will be against playoff opponents (Milwaukee Bucks, Rockets, Hawks, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets twice, Golden State Warriors), with four of those coming on the road.
The Mavs finished last season with a road record of 17-24, third in the division and seventh in the West. Prediction: 11-7
December: December will start off fairly easy with the Mavs playing the Charlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trailblazers, Sacramento Kings, and Bucks. We expect the Bobcats, Kings and Bucks to be victories while playing in Portland is always difficult.
Then, Dallas faces tough matchups against the Pelicans and Warriors. The toughest stretch of the month will come during Christmas week when Dallas visits the Rockets, Chicago Bulls and hosts the West Conference Champs, San Antonio Spurs. Prediction: 8-5. Season record up to now: 19-12
Coming soon: Part II (January and February)