Dallas Mavericks went from hot to not: The January skid

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Don’t look now, but reality has struck the Dallas Mavericks. Over the past month, the team has gone 3-6, losing notable Western Conference games to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, and Portland Trailblazers.

A week ago the Mavs were in third place in the West, and slowly creeping up on the Memphis Grizzlies for second. Fast to now and the team has fallen to fifth, as they remain one game above the Utah Jazz and two games ahead of the 10th place team.

So what has gone wrong for the Dallas Mavericks?

There are plenty of gray areas to highlight.  Some concerns include the team’s resiliency to shoot three points, and their  struggles on the defensive end. Over the past three games, Dallas has allowed their opponents to score 130 points or more.

Yet, the Mavs’ struggles go beyond the basic offense and defense.

Here are three areas of concern:

1. Adaptation to Schedule

Last month, the Dallas Mavericks had gone on an eight game winning streak. Defeated teams included the Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles, San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks, all of whom were non-playoff teams or play-in squads.

Two weeks later, and the team is on a three game losing steak.

So what’s the difference between then and now?

Honestly, a mixture of current playoff teams. For example, go back to January 5th where the team played the Boston Celtics on live TV. Against Jayson Tatum and company, the Mavs struggled to make shots not attempted in the paint. Two days later, and Dallas had no trouble beating a New Orleans Pelicans team without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

Since then, the only other victory for Luka Doncic and friends was against the Los Angeles, a current non-playoff team.

The answer seems simple: beat competitive teams.

However, with a schedule consisting of the Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers, and Utah Jazz, that seems all but impossible.

2. Inability to Provide Doncic  Help

This past week rumors began to surface that the Dallas Mavericks were linked to Knicks player Cam Reddish. News started to heat up when New York created an asking price of Reggie Bullock and a second round pick .

However, those were all rumors as Dallas does their best to provide a stable supporting cast around their all-star.

As a starter, center Christian Wood has done an excellent playing aside Doncic. In 17 starts this season he is averaging 20.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

The biggest issue though is inability to take over games. You see, when Doncic was out during the first three game of the playoff last season, Jalen Brunson carried the missing load on his shoulders. In three games without Luka, Brunson dropped in 24, 41, and 31 points.

What the team is missing is an extra complimentary scorer. While Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. are great assets, they are no your consistent 20 points per game scorers.

The question remains: Can Dallas pull off another successful trade like last season?

3. Pile of Injuries

Until recently, the Mavs have been without their top two defense Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Green. Both players were truly missed as Green has the second best three point percentage on the team, and Finney-Smith is the team’s third leading rebounder.

While things seemed to improve with both players back, Dallas suffered another setback as second-leading scorer Wood is set to be sidelined a week, possible more due to a fractured thumb.

This comes as a tough blow, as the Mavs have been patiently awaiting the return of Maxi Kleber.

Having your top two big man out, could hurt the team on both sides of the ball.

Depending on Wood’s status, this could drastically hurt the team’s record even more.

Mavs’ fans can only hope both players return soon.

Next. Dallas Mavericks path to becoming elite in the West. dark

With an open Western Conference, anything is possible, but with the Dallas Mavericks struggling and injuries pilling on, its possible the Mavs could take a deep fall.

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