Two playoff teams from the Western Conference come to a clash on Thursday, October 27. It will also feature two Most Valuable Player candidates, both of whom happen to be European-born players.
The reigning two-time MVP in Nikola Jokic will lead his Denver Nuggets south into Texas to take on Luka Doncic and the new-look Dallas Mavericks.
Both teams have started out at .500 to begin the year and are clearly working to gain traction and chemistry with their new rosters. The Dallas Mavericks lost their second option in Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks in free agency this past summer and are trying to find a pecking order to survive on offense without him. The results have been mostly mixed so far, but the play of newcomer big man Christian Wood has been extremely encouraging.
Wood has always been an obviously dominant talent, but his commitment to both defense and team-oriented basketball has been questionable at best through his young career which has led to him bouncing around the league despite his gifts on the offensive end of the court.
So far, he’s seemed much more bought in playing alongside Luka and coming off of the bench for a team that has title aspirations. Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd has him exerting more effort on defense than he has in years past, as well.
Dallas’s other addition to their front court in JaVale McGee hasn’t gone so swimmingly. The former NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist seemed like a perfect veteran to anchor the paint behind Luka while catching lobs and dump-offs from him going the other way. So far, though, McGee has struggled to find a groove playing alongside the Slovenian savant.
The season is still young, so he’ll have plenty of time to build chemistry with his new team. An effective JaVale McGee could take the Mavericks to a new level on both ends of the court.
The Mavs will have their hands full on Thursday, as their frontcourt will have to find a way to slow down the Joker. Unsurprisingly, he’s picked it back up right where he left off save for a disappointing outing against the Portland Trail Blazers in which he put up a "triple single" while his team was blown out as he struggled with foul trouble for most of the night.
Michael Porter Jr. has returned in impressive fashion, slashing an impressive 51 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc so far through four games.
Jamal Murray is still working to get his sea legs under him, averaging just 12 points per game and shooting under 38 percent in 26 minutes an outing. Once Murray is back to his All-Star level, the Nuggets should start winning games at a pace similar to the last time their Big 3 was healthy.
Head Coach Mike Malone has to motivate his team on defense, though, as they’ve been by far the worst unit on that end of the floor so far. They’ll have a tall task trying to improve upon their 124.5 points given up per game with Luka Doncic helming the opponent’s attack.
Bounce back in Brooklyn.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 27, 2022
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| Title: Dallas Mavericks vs Brooklyn Nets preview
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: Oct 27, 2022