The Dallas Mavericks dropped their forth in a row to start the year, falling to the Jazz on the road to fall to 0-4 on the season.
Harrison Barnes looked solid again in a Mavs uniform notching up fourteen points. Unfortunately, he received next to no help. Shooting 42% as a team and just 26% from three-point range, Dallas’ shot-making deserted them again in a tight matchup down the stretch.
While there are still some promising signs developing so far this season, 0-4 is still 0-4. The big German put up nine points after returning from an illness while D-Will and Wesley Matthews only managed a dozen a piece. While Dallas managed a solid defensive effort against a potent Jazz offense, Dallas was absolutely killed from beyond-the-arc, particularly in crunch time.
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The Mavs cannot afford to lose too many more games against Western Conference opponents like Utah. The Jazz, in particular, are an extremely important team to win the head-to-head matchup against, as Dallas will likely be fighting with Utah for one of the final playoff spots in the West.
While Dallas still has three more matches with the Jazz, Utah certainly looked like the better team as they won without Boris Diaw and without Gordon Hayward.
Dirk Nowitzki’s advanced age is beginning to show. While it was an illness and not an injury that kept him out of the last few games, the sore Achilles has clearly been laboring him over these first four games.
In an ideal scenario, the Mavs would be able to rest Dirk with the hopes of being able to have enough offensive weapons to still remain competitive without their best player. Unfortunately for Dallas, resting Dirk would likely mean no playoff berth for Dallas, an inevitability after their annual free-agency strikeout this past offseason.
The last time the Mavs began a season 0-4, they wound up finishing 67-15. Unfortunately, there is virtually no way for Dallas to approach anything near that kind of record given their lacking roster and aging star.
The Mavs will have to rely on big nights from Dirk, J.J. Barea, and Andrew Bogut the rest of the way if they are to going overtake the Utah Jazz and several other Western Conference foes for the final playoff spots.