When this delayed season finally started, no one gave the Mavericks the respect they deserved for being the champs, or at least that’s the case according the Shawn Marion. Everyone, but Maverick fans, had written them off before they even had a chance to prove themselves, “they had a lucky run last year” or “they cant do it again”, are just some of the statements that have been made. The new Mavericks team have held their own on the defensive end this year even without Tyson Chandler and defensive coach Dwane Casey, who have both moved onto other teams. In February, Dallas allowed an NBA best 94.3 points per 100 possessions, and that has been the key to their success as of late. Marion came into this season in the best shape of his career, and his defense this year is a prime example. With the losses of Delonte West and Roddy Beaubios, Marion took the role of shutting down opposing teams point guards. In a two-week stretch before the All-Star break, Marion was defending guys like Chris Paul, Ty Lawson, Ricky Rubio, Paul Pierce and lastly, Kobe Bryant. In two games this season versus the Mavs, Kobe has only scored 29 points combined, which is his league-leading season average.
Roddy Beaubios returned back to the team Monday after missing the last five games following the death of his father. With Delonte West still out, and no timetable for his return, Beabious will get plenty of playing time to get his game back in form. The Lamar Odom project continues to disappoint, as he is out not due to injury, but to be with his ill father. Odom has been the biggest disappointment this season after the Mavericks traded for him in the offseason when he became frustrated with trade talks in Los Angeles. Mavs fans are waiting for Odom to show some sort of contribution, and it appears those hopes are fading away.
Dallas has a tough stretch of games right out of the gates following the All-Star break with nine games in 12 days. This stretch includes the only back-to-back-to-back of the season, followed by home-road back-to-backs. Opponents during this stretch are the Nets (lost last night at home), Grizzlies (away), Hornets (away), Jazz (home), OKC (away), Knicks (home), and finishing up with two home games against the Kings and Warriors. I look for the Mavs to finish the season strong and will be, no worse than, a top 4 seed at seasons end.
About the Author
Written by Max Barton
Current student at the University of Oklahoma, my passion is sports and trying to make that passion my profession.