The Dallas Mavericks started off the season great at 9-4, but a recent slump that was four losses in five games dropped their record to 10-8, still in the top-8 in the West.
A visit from the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 3 may just be what the Mavs needed.
The Bobcats were 0-10 all time in Dallas, but Charlotte came out firing, seeking that first road win in the series, leading 42-41 at half and leading by as much as 12 in the third quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki, who shot poorly in the first half scoring four points on 1-of-10 shooting, turned it up in the second half, especially the fourth quarter. Nowitzki shot 9-of-11 for 21 points after halftime, 14 in the fourth, as he and Monta Ellis led the way to outscoring the Bobcats 29-15 in the decisive quarter.
The Mavs finished out the final 14 minutes on a 32-15 run.
Ellis added 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting and combined with Nowitzki for 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the fourth, as the two scored the final 19 points for Dallas.
Dallas currently sits at seventh in the West at 11-8, which would have them third in the East. I predicted that they would be 11-7 entering Tuesday’s game.
The Mavericks, who sit 1.5 games back of the fourth-seeded LA Clippers, enter a crucial four-game road trip beginning Dec. 4 in New Orleans.
The Mavs have had their issues on the road with a 2-6 record so this road trip, which also includes games in Portland (15-3), Sacramento (4-12), and Golden State (11-8), is very important.
It’s always tough whenever Dallas plays in Portland, but since the Blazers are tops in the West, it will even be tougher. They should have no problems with the Kings, and the Warriors are right there with the Mavs.
A 3-1 record would be ideal, but if the Mavericks go 2-2, I think that would be a successful trip, coming back home for three in a row starting on Dec. 14.
Nowitzki (21 ppg) and Ellis (22 ppg) have combined for nearly 43 points per game, but the real issue is the Mavericks defense.
Samuel Dalembert hasn’t been what I envisioned. I knew entering the season, Ellis and Calderon weren’t known for their defense, but Dalembert needs to protect the paint more and play a lot better against opposing centers.
Rumors are out that the Mavericks are trying to trade for Houston’s Omer Asik. Asik is a great defender, and being younger than Dalembert, has a lot more energy and would be a terrific fit for Dallas.