DALLAS - Ahead of the NBA's official release of the 2021-22 regular season schedule, reports are emerging of some of the holiday matchups. The Dallas Mavericks have found themselves among the mix, so far.
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Mavericks will take on Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz as a Christmas Day game. The tip-off time is unclear but it will be an evening/night game.
During the 2020 slate of Christmas Day action, the Mavericks took on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas ended up losing 138-115. Luka Doncic finished with 27 points, four rebounds, and seven assists as Dallas sorely struggled to get the job done defensively.
The Mavericks struggled when they faced the Jazz last season, posting just a 1-2 record. Dallas won the most recent matchup 111-103 on April 5 at the American Airlines Center, but lost by double-figures in each of their back-to-back matchups the team played in Utah in late January.
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Doncic thrived against the Jazz last season with averages of 28.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and seven assists. He was quite efficient as a scorer and even went 41.7% from beyond the arc on eight attempts per game.
The Mavericks will need Kristaps Porzingis to step up this time around, however. He was sidelined for the most recent matchup against the Jazz, but regardless, was limited to an average of 14.5 points per game on 37.5% shooting from the floor and 25.0% from deep in his two performances.
Overall, the Mavericks leaned on perimeter shooting heavily against the Jazz given that Rudy Gobert patrols the middle of the floor within Utah's half-court defense. For reference, the Mavericks attempted 39.0 shots from deep per contest against the Jazz in 2020-21 while connected at a 37.6% clip.
It will be pivotal that Doncic is connecting on his off-the-dribble takes from deep given that Gobert is a deep drop big. However, attacking that open space for floaters and short-range jumpers after using a hostage dribble or snaking the screen is something that could work, too.