The Mavs are set to clash with the Atlanta Hawks in their thirty-seventh game of the year tonight at the AAC.
The Mavs are forever indebted to the Hawks for their generous gift of Jason Terry to the Mavs years ago. The Hawks enter the game with a 20-16 record compared to the Mavs’ porous 11-25 record. Head coach Mike Budenholzer faces off with Rick Carlisle in what should be an intriguing matchup of two of the NBA’s elite coaches.
This game comes off one of the most disappointing losses of the year for the Mavs who dropped a frustrating loss to the lowly Suns and old friend Tyson Chandler. The Mavs now turn their attention to the Hawks to come into town with a tough defensive reputation.
Article continues below ...
Too often over the course of this season, the Mavs have mightily struggled to score. In fact, they sit at second-to-last in the league in total offense ahead of only the 76ers who are still looking to assemble anything resembling an NBA team. This night may not be any different for the Mavs who face a Hawks defense led by Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, and Kent Bazemore.
The only good news for the Mavs is that they’re playing another struggling offense. The Hawks sit at 24th in the NBA in offense, lacking true scoring options ever since the departure of DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford. In a matchup of two defensive powerhouses, an ugly, defensive struggle could ensue. Anytime Dwight Howard comes to Dallas, there could also be some chippy play as well.
As the Mavs look to get on a hot streak to somehow get a playoff spot, they get a shot in the arm tonight thanks to the return of J.J. Barea. Barea has missed the last seven games due to injury and finally, for the first time this season, they are completely healthy as a team. Rick Carlisle now has his full depth of guards to use. Deron Williams, Devin Harris, J.J. Barea, and Seth Curry are all available for the Mavs tonight and should be able to stymie the lack of depth at the guard position for Atlanta.
As the Mavs hang on to their trade assets, turn away requests for Wesley Matthews and put Andrew Bogut on the bench, they are still convinced they can salvage their season and turn this whole thing around.