NBA Orlando Schedule Released; Mavs Opponents Breakdown
The Dallas Mavericks are assembling their roster. They are packing their bags. They are assessing their goals ... and they now have one thing set in stone, COVID-19 permitting ...
Their post-hiatus regular-season-closing schedule in the bubble in Orlando.
Playoff-bound Dallas will join a total of 22 teams and enter play with a 40-27 record, good for seventh in the West right now ... but with coach Rick Carlisle and star Luka Doncic also looking to use the final eight games - "seeding games,'' the NBA is calling them - to lift themselves up in the standings. (See more about the structure in Orlando, per a Friday NBA announcement, here.)
Dallas' eight “seeding games'':
GAME 1 - Mavs vs. Rockets on Friday, July 31 (8:00 p.m. central time) ... a serious test against a talented SmallBall contender.... and as Dallas is 1.5 games back of 40-24 Houston? A huge catch-up game against James Harden and crew.
GAME 2 - Mavs vs. Suns on Sunday, August 2 (8:00 p.m. central time). Phoenix is 26-39. Not that every foe shouldn't be taken seriously, but the Suns are one of the have-nots in Orlando.
GAME 3 - Mavs vs. Kings on Tuesday, August 4 (1:30 p.m. central time). The Kings are 28-36. That's consecutive games against two "non-contenders'' with a combined record of 54-75,
GAME 4 - Mavs vs. Clippers on Thursday, August 6 (5:30 p.m. central time). Certainly the scariest team, in terms of matchups, on the Dallas schedule. The 44-20 Clips with Kawhi Leonard and big, physical, athletic wings - maybe the Mavs' Kryptonite.
GAME 5 - Mavs vs. Bucks on Saturday, August 8 (7:30 p.m. central time). A treat to watch the 53-12 Bucks (the only East team on the Mavs schedule) and Giannis ... but a nightmare trying to stop the defending MVP.
GAME 6 - Mavs vs. Jazz on Monday, August 10 (2:00 p.m. central time). Afternoon delight against a Jazz team (41-23) that by this time will have decided if they still want to all be friends.
GAME 7 - Mavs vs. Trail Blazers on Tuesday, August 11 (4:00 p.m. central time.) Scary talent with this group ... but some in this group didn't seem to thrilled to go to Orlando. (Being 29-37 can do that to a club.) This is the only back-to-back on the schedule, both of them afternoon tips ... and given the recent wild-arse meetings between these two clubs, a must-watch..
GAME 8 - Mavs vs. Suns on Thursday, August 13 (tip-off time TBD). And a closer against a Suns team that ought to be overmatched - if Dallas is everything MFFLs hope it is.
The plan in Dallas calls for Fox Sports Southwest to carry all eight of the Mavericks’ seeding games with the Mark Followill-led team calling the action remotely from the FSSW studio in DFW. (ESPN will also carry the Houston and Milwaukee games. TNT will air the Clippers game and NBA TV will show the Utah game.) ESPN 103.3 FM will air all eight games with Chuck Cooperstein and Brad Davis broadcasting from the Mavericks locker room at American Airlines Center. Victor Villalba will provide the play-by-play in Spanish on 1207 AM from the Univision Deportes studio.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban, for one, sounds ready to roll to Orlando.
"I think we are going to be ready to play,'' he said. "I think we have a great group of guys who love to play together, a great coaching and analytics staff that will give us every chance of making a long playoff run.