The Dallas Mavericks take on the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on Thursday. Two of the NBA’s most promising teams are matched up in a Western Conference battle that will help improve their current league standings.
It took three games for the Dallas Mavericks to register their first win of the season. They are yet to go on a winning streak and have the same record (3-4) as the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets’ situation is similar to the Dallas Mavericks as they also lost the first two games of their 2020-21 campaign. Unlike the Mavs, however, they have won their last two games and are looking for their third straight victory.
Dallas Mavericks vs Denver Nuggets: 3 key matchups to look out for
The Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets are currently tied for the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, a position that both teams are hoping to rectify with a win on Thursday.
Check out our 3 key matchups when the Dallas Mavericks battle the Denver Nuggets:
#1 Luka Doncic vs. Jamal Murray
Coach Michael Malone will likely pit Josh Richardson against Luka Doncic on defense to save Jamal Murray’s legs on offense.
The guard matchup between Doncic and Murray will still be exciting even if they don’t go head-to-head.
When two of the league’s rising stars battle it out from the perimeter, fans can expect a lot of exciting moments in the game.
Doncic is coming off his first triple-double performance of the season last Monday. Against the Houston Rockets, the third-year guard had 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists as he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 113-100 win on the road.
Murray scored more than 30 points in two of his last three games. His 22.2 points-per-game average is easily the highest of his five-year career.
#2 Dwight Powell vs. Nikola Jokic
Dwight Powell has the unenviable task of guarding one of the league’s premier big men in Nikola Jokic.
The Dallas Mavericks center will have his hands full trying to contain Jokic, who is off to one of the finest seasons for a center in league history. He will likely split time with Willie Cauley-Stein in guarding the Denver Nuggets big man.
Jokic has been incredible for the Denver Nuggets this season, putting up career numbers across the board. Additionally, he is averaging a triple-double (24.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 11.9 assists) this season while also leading the association in assists.
Wilt Chamberlain once led the NBA in total assists, with 702 for the season, although Oscar Robertson was the league leader in average assists with 9.7. The Denver Nuggets center is on track to be the first center in league history to have the highest total assists and highest average per game.
We expect Jokic to be too much to handle for the Dallas Mavericks centers and are penciling him in for another triple-double performance.
#3 Josh Richardson vs Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. will finally return from quarantine after missing the last three games due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
In four games this season, Porter has upped his scoring average by more than 10 points from last season (19.5 points a game this year).
At the time of his quarantine, Porter had just recorded 30 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in a 125-115 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Porter may be too big and too strong for Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Richardson, who may not guard the Denver Nuggets’ 6-foot-10 forward. Either Maxi Kleber or Dorian Finney-Smith will get the nod here.
Richardson has been an excellent pick-up for the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason. He’s a 3-and-D wing player who will guard the opposing team’s best performer while chipping in double-figure points every game.
His nightly production of 13.7 points per contest could see an improvement once he has more games under his belt with the Mavs.
Porter and Richardson could well be the X-factors for their respective teams in this game.
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Published 07 Jan 2021, 17:16 IST