The NBA is officially starting back up and they have announced every team’s schedules for the seeding games. The games will take place before the actual playoffs begin. Seeding games will help determine the first round matchups of the playoffs. Those games will begin on July 30th with the Jazz playing the Pelicans and the Lakers battling against the Clippers. Dallas will play their first game on July 31st against the Houston Rockets. Half of the games that the Mavericks will play will be against teams with more losses then wins this season. Here are my predictions for the eight Mavericks games:
Houston Rockets, July 31st
The Rockets are a team that the Mavericks probably don’t want to face off against in their first game back from the break. The reason is because of the talent on the Houston roster. Houston’s star players Russell Westbrook and James Harden have averaged a combined total of 61.9 points per game this season for the Rockets. Houston and Dallas are ranked first and second in the southwest division with the Rockets having a record of 40-24 and the Mavericks with a record of 40-27. In the eight games the Mavericks could possibly take the lead in the southwest division. The Mavericks two matchups with Houston each team had one win. In the first game the Mavericks won by 14 points with Luka Doncic dropping 41 points. Game two of the series the Rockets won by seven points led by James Harden who scored 35 points.
The matchup between the Texas rivals I think it will be a very close and exciting game with a lot of scoring from both offenses. My prediction for this game is that the Rockets will come out with a win and the Mavericks will start the restart off 0-1. The reason I think this will happen is because I feel like James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be very hard to slow down on offense and result in Houston winning game one.
Phoenix Suns, August 2nd
The Suns were the works team that qualified for the restart in the western conference, Phoenix led by 23-year-old all-star Devin Booker had a record of 23-39 before the season ended. Phoenix are two and a half games back from the ninth seed in the west and six games back from the eight seed. Even though it is very unlikely Phoenix does qualify for the playoffs it could still happen. This season the Suns and the Mavericks met twice in the regular season with both teams taking one win. In the two games combined Devin Booker led the Phoenix offense with an average of 25 points a game. Kelly Oubre Jr. also played pretty well vs Dallas this season averaging 20.5 points per game. In the season series Luka Doncic was by far the star player averaging 31.5 points per game.
Even though this will also be an interesting matchup I have Dallas dominating against Phoenix in this game. I think that Dallas has a lot more depth and Luka Doncic will probably start to play at MVP level again in this game. My problem with Phoenix is that i feel like after Devin Booker they do not really have another player that can lead the game and score a lot of points.
Sacramento Kings, August 4th
In the third game of the seeding games the Mavericks will play another below five-hundred team, the Kings. Sacramento are currently tied for the 10th seed in the the western conference playoff race with the New Orleans Pelicans, the teams share a record of 28-36. The Kings and Pelicans are both right behind Portland for the ninth seed and three and half games back from Memphis and the eight seed. This season Dallas and Sacramento played three games against each other, Dallas won the season series two to one. In game two Luka Doncic had a triple double with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. also played pretty well versus Sacramento scoring 29 points in game one. For the Kings, young stars De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield both played some good games against Dallas.
My prediction for this game is that Dallas will get their second win of the seeding games. In the season series the Mavericks and the Kings were both missing some key players in some of the games so we didn’t get to see the full rosters in every game. I feel like Sacramento won’t have enough late season and playoff experience and they won’t be ready to play against teams like the Mavericks who are trying to prove to be a top team in the western conference.
Los Angeles Clippers, August 6th
Game four of the seeding games for the Mavericks will be against a very tough opponent, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are currently the second seed in the western conference only behind their rivals, the Lakers. If the season had gone straight to the playoffs with the normal format the Clippers and the Mavericks would have been playing against each other in the first round. Even though this year’s playoffs will be a lot different, a matchup between Dallas and LA is very possible. LA, led by star players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George beat the Mavericks in both of the games that the two teams played against each other this regular season.
I have the Clippers winning this game in a very tight and exciting game. I have LA winning this game for several reasons, the first reason is that I think that Kawhi Leonard will be one of the top players in the playoffs this season and Paul George is also going to be very hard to stop and I don’t think Dallas will be able to hold them down. The second reason is Patrick Beverly, I think that Beverly will be on a totally new level in the bubble and will be playing some amazing defense. This game will be a top game in the seeding games and could go down to the end.
Milwaukee Bucks, August 8th
In game five Dallas will have to take on the eastern conference kings, the Bucks. This season Milwaukee has the best record in the league with only 12 losses. Giannas Antetokounmpo, who is a front runner for MVP is averaging an amazing 29.6 points a game, which is third in the league only behind James Harden and Bradley Beal. Dallas handed the Bucks one of their 12 losses this season in the only matchup between the two teams. In that game Giannas scored 48 points and had 14 rebounds but that wasn’t enough to stop the Mavericks who were without Luka Doncic. For Dallas Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry both scored 26 points leading Dallas to upset the top team in the league.
In this game I have Dallas upsetting Milwaukee again. I think that Luka will have a massive game and some other players in Dallas are also going to step up and help Dallas get a well needed win. Coming off a loss against the Clippers.
Utah Jazz, August 10th
The Jazz were holding on to the fourth seed in the western conference when the season was suspended with a record of 41-23. Utah was the first team in the NBA to have players test positive for COVID-19, Rudy Gobert, after Gobert tested positive the league was officially suspended. Gobert was not the only player to test positive, a few days later teammate and fellow all-star Donavan Mitchell also contracted the virus. Luckily for the Jazz both players have recovered and are ready to play in Orlando. This season Utah won in both matchups the two teams had this season, In the two games Rudy Gobert averaged 16 rebounds and Donovan Mitchell averaged 25 points per game. When Mitchell and Gobert are playing together they are a top duo in the NBA and teams have a hard time beating them.
Coming off a victory versus the Bucks, the Mavericks are going to have a lot of momentum and my prediction is that they will also beat the Jazz. After these couple wins Dallas will be nearing passing either the Rockets or the Thunder for the 6th seed in the west so Dallas are going to want to keep on getting wins to jump up a few seeds.
Portland Trail Blazers, August 11th
The first time Dallas will have to play games on back to back nights since the season restarted will be against the Trail Blazers. Portland are one of the couple of teams that are fighting for the last seed in the playoff race which is currently a very close race. At the moment Portland have the ninth seed with New Orleans and Sacramento right behind them. This season Portland and Dallas played three games against each other with Dallas taking two out of the three. In the three games Damian Lillard averaged a total of a little over 37 points a game. And for Dallas, Luka Doncic averaged about 30 points per game.
Portland will desperately need a win in this game against Dallas so they can qualify for the playoffs. Since the Blazers will need some wins in the last couple of seeding games to make the playoffs, I think that Portland will win this game. Also the Blazers will be coming off a day of rest and Dallas will have just played the night before. Since Dallas have basically already clinched the playoffs they will not need this win as much as the Blazers will.
Phoenix Suns, August 13th
In the last game of the seeding games Dallas will play against the Suns, who they already faced in the seeding games. In part two of the Suns vs Mavericks, I have Dallas beating Phoenix again. By this point Phoenix will most likely be eliminated for making the playoffs so they won’t be trying as hard to get a win. Dallas will probably be looking for a win to possibly move up to get a better seeding.
With my predictions I have Dallas with a record of 5-3 after the seeding games. If you add that to their record at the end of the season they would have a record 45-30. If either the Thunder or Rockets lost more than half of their games the Mavericks would most likely have a chance of moving up in the standings and get a better seeding and have to play a more desired first round opponent.
It will be very interesting to see how the seeding games go, it will be the first time back to real basketball game action for everybody in the NBA since the league was suspended. A thing that worries some teams and players is the chance of more injuries since players haven’t played in such a long time, so hopefully we don’t see any major injuries that could alter some players careers. I think everyone is very excited to get back to basketball and see one team crowned champions.