The Dallas Mavericks saw their losing streak reach five games in a row after a tough loss against the Phoenix Suns, who were without leading-scorer Devin Booker due to a hamstring injury. The Mavs and Luka Doncic have a rematch against the Suns on Monday night to complete the two-game stand.
The Mavericks’ current skid reached five in a row, and they’ve dropped eight of their last 10 games. The Mavs also have a four-game losing streak at home at American Airlines Arena. With a 2-5 home record for the Mavs, only the Oklahoma City Thunder have a worse record on their home court.
Dallas, owned by Mark Cuban, came into this season as the favorite to win the Southwest division at -225 odds. The Mavs are seeking their first division crown since 2011, but right now, they’re battling the New Orleans Pelicans for last place in the Southwest.
“Terrible,” said Doncic. “There’s really not much to say. Right now, it’s looking like we don’t care, honestly, if we win games or not.”
The Mavs are currently ranked #13 in the Western Conference out of 15 teams. Despite the bad stretch, the Mavericks are in the middle of the pack at +3000 odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship. But, save your money. If the Mavs continue their piss-poor shooting, they might not even make the playoffs, let alone gear up for a legit title run.
Betting wise, the Mavs are 9-11 against the spread. The under is 12-8 in Dallas games.
Doncic MVP Odds Fading
Doncic has been a one-man gang this season. He averages nearly a triple-double with 27.4 points, 9.4 assists, and 9.2 rebounds per game. He’s the NBA’s second-best passer and is ranked #5 with a 26.79 PER rating. His long-range shooting has been his weak point at just 29.4% from 3-point range this season.
Doncic’s support on offense has been erratic, and the Mavs are averaging only 106.2 ppg during their losing streak.
“We need more energy, more effort, dive for every ball, box out, everything,” said Doncic. “That’s a lot of things we can improve. And I know we will. And that’s all that matters.”
After a slow start to the season, Doncic woke up in January. He joined an elite group of five other pros who tallied at least 400 points, 150 assists, and 150 rebounds during a single calendar month. In January 2021, Doncic averaged a triple-double with 28.3 points, 10.3 assists, and 10.1 rebounds per game. The Mavs went 7-8 in January. After a 5-0 start to the month, the Mavs hit the skids in the second half of January with a 2-8 record.
Before the season began, oddsmakers pegged Doncic as the favorite to win the MVP. In the last week or so, LeBron James and Joel Embiid saw their MVP odds jump and they’re now the top two favorites. Kevin Durant and Nikola Jokic also saw movement in their NBA MVP odds, so Doncic now has a lot of company. MVP voters tend to shy away from star players on bad teams, which is the exact spot Doncic finds himself.
— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) February 1, 2021
Where’s the Unicorn?
Kristaps Porzingis has been a tad rusty since returing from a knee injury. Porzingis tweaked his knee in the 2020 playoffs in Disney and missed the start of the season while recovering from another knee surgery.
In nine games this season, the Unicorn averaged only 18.6 ppg and eight rebounds per game. The 7-foot-3 sharpshooter struggled from beyond the arc. He’s hitting a career-low 28.6% of his 3-point shots.
“Kristaps has yet to fully find his rhythm,” said head coach Rick Carlisle. “He’ll get there eventually.”
“We have to continue improving the chemistry on the court and the results will come,” said Porzingis.
The Mavs have a ball movement problem when the Unicorn’s on the court. He’s not distributing the ball at all, averaging 0.9 assists per game. Haters on Twitter referred to him as the “Latvian Black Hole” because once he gets the ball, it’s not going anywhere.
Compare Porzingis’ numbers (0.9 assists per game) to Denver’s big man, Nikola Jokic, who averages 8.7 assists per game and who ranks third overall in the NBA behind Doncic.
The Unicorn’s perimeter shooting woes have spread to the rest of the Mavs. Aside from Maxi Kleeber and Jalen Brunson, everyone on Dallas is shooting worse this season than last season from beyond the arc.
On Deck for Mavs: Suns, Hawks, Warriors
The Mavericks are hell-bent on ending their losing streak when they complete the second game of a two-game homestand against the Phoenix Suns. Devin Booker will sit out his fifth game since tweaking his hamstring.
Without their top scorer, the Suns stole a win in Dallas over the weekend thanks to a fourth-quarter rally. Chris Paul dropped 27 points and dished 12 assists in the victory, including 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“There’s obviously a comfort in having a guy like that with the ball, knowing that his intention is to make a play for the team,” said Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams. “The game is a bit slower for him down the stretch. I don’t know what that is, a gene, or he just has it.”
Big man Deandre Ayton scored 18 points and wiped the glass with 17 rebounds in the win over Dallas.
On Wednesday, the Mavs fly to Atlanta to play Trae Young and the Hawks.
After a road-heavy schedule in January, the Mavs return home to Dallas for seven consecutive games. They host a two-game homestand against the Golden State Warriors with games on Thursday and Saturday. If the Mavs see their losing streak continue, they’ll finally have an easy spot on their schedule when the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-14) visit Dallas next week.
Check out OG’s extensive coverage of the NBA this season.