At 19-15, the Dallas Mavericks are just off from where we thought they’d be, but are in a season-worst slump at the moment.
After winning all three on a recent road trip and four overall on the road, the Mavs have lost back-to-back home games and have lost four games straight at home.
Dallas, who sits in the 8th spot in the Western Conference, should have a better record, but one problem it has is closing out big leads.
The Mavericks suffered such a loss on Jan. 3, when they blew a 13-point lead to the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers and lost 119-112. The Mavs were up 110-103 before the Clippers closed the game out on a 16-2 run.
After the game, star forward Dirk Nowitzki expressed his frustrations with the team by stating that “he doesn’t think [the Mavs] are a playoff team.”
Mark Cuban and the Mavericks are trying to keep Nowitzki as happy as possible, as Dirk will become a free agent this summer and test the pool. It’s been established that Nowitzki doesn’t want to “finish out his career fighting for the 7th and 8th seeds in the West.”
As an attempt to fire his team up with his rather harsh words, the Mavs came out completely flat in a 92-80 loss to the surging New York Knicks on Jan. 4.
Dallas scored 70 in the first half against the Clippers, 39 in the first quarter, but scored a season-low 35 in the first half against the Knicks.
Nowitzki led five Mavs in double figures with 18, but shot just 5-of-9 from the free throw line, something Mavs fans aren’t accustomed to seeing.
Rick Carlisle’s team made one more 3-pointer than New York, but took 13 more attempts, finishing 6-of-26 from downtown.
Dallas will try to finish off this three-game homestand with a win as it hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 7. The Mavs will be playing four games in five days. They go to San Antonio on Jan. 8 for an ESPN game with the Spurs before finishing the week with a home-and-home with the New Orleans Pelicans.
For all their struggles at home, a four-game losing streak after starting 7-0 and 8-1 (11-6 now), they are just the opposite on the road. They’ve won four in a row (8-9) after winning in Chicago, Minnesota and Washington during their three-game road trip.
Point guard and center play has been inconsistent and has plagued Dallas.
Devin Harris, who hasn’t suited up once, is set to return to full practice within the next week and will look to make his season debut within the next two weeks.
Samuel Dalembert came to Dallas as the starting center, but his inconsistent play and so-called “tardiness,” has really set the vet back. Dalembert was late to shootaround before the New York game, resulting in a DNP-CD. For everytime Dalembert sits, the 6-foot-9 Dejuan Blair starts at the five.
Cuban should make some moves and try to get a legitimate starting center.
Omer Asik still makes sense, the guy knows how to play and play hard. Vince Carter and Shawn Marion have been the names on the trading block. Carter can still score, but has struggled especially late in games this season. Marion can go cold offensively, but at small forward, he’s the best defender on the team and can still rebound.
A defensive point guard wouldn’t be a bad idea either, but we’ll have to wait to see how Harris transitions from his injury. Harris’ defense is a big upgrade to Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon’s.
The Mavs remain 2.5 games ahead of Denver for 8th, and sit just three games out of 4th seeded Golden State.