Welcome home, Dallas Mavericks ... Mavs Donuts: The Week Ahead ...
DONUT 1: ROUGH START The first week of the 2020-2021 NBA season was rough on the Dallas Mavericks, as they lost their first two games in deflating fashion.
The four-point season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns was disappointing, but the Mavs Christmas Day throttling at the hands of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers was flat-out demoralizing.
DONUT 2: THE PANICKY TRADE IDEA: The rebounding disparity was so bad that we started pondering a potential trade for Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond to help out.
DONUT 3: I GUESS THAT'S WHY THEY CALL IT 'THE BLUES' Nothing cures a case of the NBA blues more than winning, though, and the Mavs did that in a big way on Sunday, beating the Los Angeles Clippers on the road by 51 points, the second-biggest blowout in Dallas franchise history.
The Mavs 50-point halftime lead, an NBA record, was jaw-dropping to watch unfold. From Luka Doncic, to Josh Richardson, to even further down the depth chart with Willie Cauley-Stein, every Maverick received a significant morale boost heading into their second week of play.
“We showed who we really are,” said Luka Doncic, “but it’s a long season.”
So, along the long-season path, what comes next? Let’s take a brief look at what the Mavs are facing this week ...
DONUT 4: WELCOME HOME It's the Charlotte Hornets, here on Wednesday.
The Mavs will finally get to play a home game at American Airlines this week after starting the season with a three-game road trip. The Hornets aren’t the greatest team out there, but as they showed us on Sunday night when they defeated Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, any team can win on any given night in the NBA.
Led by Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward, the Hornets can be dangerous at times, but if the Mavs can play with a similar intensity they had in their win against the Clippers, we expect this to be the Mavs’ second win of the season.
DONUT 5: A MINI-STREAK Dallas has won four of its last six games against Charlotte, and the last three games between these two teams were closely contested with an average point differential of five points.
DONUT 6: ANOTHER SORT OF (NOT-GOOD) STREAK Then it's the Miami Heat, on Friday, again here at the AAC.
This game will be a really tough test for the Mavs, not only because the Heat are the reigning Eastern Conference Finals winners, but also because Miami has simply had Dallas’ number since Dirk Nowitzki beat them in the NBA Finals nearly a full decade ago.
The Heat have won 10 of the last 12 matchups with the Mavs since that magical Finals series, and Dallas’ last win against Miami was back in February 27, 2017.
DONUT 7: LUKA KRYPTONITE? As amazing as Luka Doncic is, he has had his struggles against the Heat over the last two years. Doncic has never scored more than 23 points against Miami and hasn’t shot any better than 41% from the field.
This game will be physically challenging for Dallas, but that’s the exact reason they traded for Josh Richardson and James Johnson, two gritty players who played together in Miami a few years ago.
READ MORE: Dallas Mavs - 'The Dawgs Are Coming'
Prediction? We can see this one going either way.
DONUT 8: AN 0-3 FOE: The Chicago Bulls are that foe, the game scheduled for Sunday in the Windy City.
The Bulls were optimistic heading into this season with newly hired head coach Billy Donovan, yet Chicago is sitting at 0-3 after three games.
DONUT 9: OUR TRADE-MINDED EYEBALLS Chicago has some really young talented pieces in Zach LaVine (a guy who we at DallasBasketball.com are still keeping our eyes on this season as the season progresses towards the March trade deadline), Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Ur. and Coby White, but for whatever reasons, it just simply hasn’t translated to winning basketball for the Bulls.
DONUT 10: YET ANOTHER STREAK! The Mavs have won seven of their last 10 games against the Bulls. The last seven contests between Dallas and Chicago have been decided by single digits, though, so even though the Mavs have had recent success here, it doesn’t mean they won’t have to work for it.
DONUT 11: WHAT'S ON TAP The Mavs will practice on Tuesday, but before that, coach Rick Carlisle will visit on "Shan & R.J.'' on 105.3 The Fan with guest co-host Mike Fisher, all at 7:20 a.m. (and available to rewind on Radio.com).
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD “This has been a tough stretch,” Carlisle said. “A lot of attention. A lot of focus. Everybody should clear their heads.”
And clear out some time on the schedule for a busy Mavs week ahead.