Opposition Intel: Milwaukee Bucks @ Dallas Mavericks Preview With Isaac Harris

As the Milwaukee Bucks look for their fourth straight win on Sunday, we got the lowdown on their opponents, the Dallas Mavericks, from Isaac Harris of The Smoking Cuban.

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Welcome to Opposition Intel!

With the wind at their backs and an impressive win streak in progress this week, the Milwaukee Bucks head to Dallas for the second game of a back-to-back in search of a fourth straight win.

The Bucks have clicked in recent games with strong efforts from their stars and their role players on the whole, and considering the way their opponents have started their season, they’ll have to like their chances of putting in another strong performance.

The Dallas Mavericks are still searching for their first win of the season, and with injuries piling up that prospect isn’t going to get any easier for them. With the Bucks heading in on the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavs would have been disappointed to see the ease with which Milwaukee dispatched Sacramento on Saturday, and as such both teams should enter feeling pretty fresh.

Ahead of the action, we spoke to Dallas Mavericks writer and friend of the site Isaac Harris to find out exactly what to expect in the game, and to learn about what matchups we should be looking out for.

Isaac writes about the Mavericks as a site expert over at FanSided’s The Smoking Cuban. You can follow him on Twitter at @IsaacHarrisNBA.

Let’s take a look at what he had to say.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Stuck In The Starter’s Blocks

Adam McGee (@AdamMcGee11): Do you see the Mavericks’ slow start to the season as a result of some of the new guys still trying to adjust to their new surroundings, or is it possible that it’s going to be reflective of Dallas’ talent throughout the season?

Isaac Harris (@IsaacHarrisNBA): I’m always a positive person, but my heart tells me this will be reflective of this season and it’s mainly because of health. We are five games into the season and already have seven players battling injuries, not counting Bogut missing the Portland game for “personal reasons.” Now Nowitzki told us at his locker on Friday night he needs time to get his sore Achilles right and is being shut down. The Mavs need time to get healthy, but I’m not sure they will be able to climb out of the hole they are digging until then.

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What Does Barnes Need To Deliver?

Adam: Harrison Barnes has started the season pretty well following his big summer contract. What does Dallas need to get from him for that deal to be deemed a success?

Isaac: With Nowitzki out, he needs to be the man now. I said since the start of the season he should hover around the 20 PPG mark and he is at 18 now. He needs to put up similar scoring numbers as Dirk and be able to defend some of the best wings in the game.

It sounds like a very tall task, but it’s a task that I really think Barnes can achieve. The question is if there is enough healthy pieces around him to help him out.

Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Opinion of the Bucks

Adam: What’s your impression of Milwaukee’s current roster and how do you expect them to fare over the course of the season?

Isaac: What a fun, young team to be excited about. Giannis will always sting Mavs fans since we took Shane Larkin over him…yeah, awesome. But Giannis and Jabari are studs, and will be for quite some time.

I actually thought you got good value for MCW with his minutes lowered and upcoming free agency, but y’all got weirdly crucified by some for just getting Snell. My favorite move of your offseason was Thon Maker. I was all aboard his hype train and I’m excited to watch him grow.

If Milwaukee can have a consistent outside shot while having Giannis/Jabari take the next step in their careers, you could reach that 4-5 spot in the East.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup To Watch

Adam: If you were to single out one matchup as having the potential to be decisive between the Bucks and Mavericks, what would it be and why?

Isaac: It’s the UNC vs Duke battle. With Matthews likely on Giannis, this will put Barnes on Parker in what should be a really fun battle to watch. Barnes will likely be a little more aggressive with Dirk being out, but guarding Parker on the other end will be a huge task. Since Parker torched the Mavs in the preseason, Barnes will have added pressure to limit him on Sunday.

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Final Predictions

Adam: What’s your final prediction for how Sunday’s game between the two teams will finish up?

Isaac: At some point the Mavs have to win, right? Although the absence of Dirk will be huge offensively, it will allow Dallas to matchup a lot better defensively.

Also, the Mavs biggest weakness is opponent’s three point percentage as they rank 30th in the league. Milwaukee shouldn’t pose the same outside threat as Houston, Utah, and Portland has for Dallas. I think Dallas is determined and will earn their first victory at home on Sunday

Thanks to Isaac for joining us and giving us some Mavericks insight. Once again, be sure to follow Isaac on Twitter at @IsaacHarrisNBA and read his work on The Smoking Cuban.

Be sure to check back in with us on Monday for all of the reactions to Sunday’s game from the American Airlines Center, where tip-off is at 6pm CT.

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