The acquisition of Kyrie Irving was supposed to be the move that put the Dallas Mavericks over the top. The team was finally pairing superstar Luka Doncic with a viable second option, as Irving is still considered to be one of the top point guards in the league.
When the trade was made on February 5th, the Mavericks were 28-26 and sitting in the 6th spot in the Western Conference. After playing .500 basketball for much of the year, adding a star like Irving would theoretically allow them to make a run at the top spot, or at least the top 3.
Dallas Mavericks Slip Out Of Western Conference Playoff Picture
Luka drops 40 points in Mavericks back-to-back loss to the Hornets.
Not looking good in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/yF9775PXXX
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) March 26, 2023
Things haven’t gone exactly how Mark Cuban and company planned. Both Doncic and Irving have been in and out of the lineup with various injuries, but it hasn’t been pretty when they’ve been in the lineup, either. Since Irving’s arrival, the Mavericks are 8-13, including their latest skid, which has some pressing the panic button on Dallas’ season.
The Mavs were facing one of the most important three-game stretches starting last week with games against Western Conference hopefuls in the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Warriors. They started off well by edging the Lakers out by one point, but dropped the next two to threaten their playoff position altogether. After the losses to Memphis and Golden State, Dallas was tied for 8th and in the thick of the play-in tournament talk.
Mavericks' Luka Doncic expressed that he doesn't feel the same joy on the court lately. He mentioned there's "a lot going on" beyond basketball. pic.twitter.com/tgpViirHEo
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) March 25, 2023
But things went from bad to worse over the weekend. Dallas had a chance to get right for the season’s home stretch by playing a home-and-home mini-series against the lowly Charlotte Hornets. A loss on Friday night in the first game was disheartening enough for the team to draw boos from the home crowd, which Irving addressed through the media.
Mavericks Will Face An Uphill Climb Back Into Contention
Had the Mavericks been in front of their home fans on Sunday, the boos would have probably been even louder. Despite Doncic putting up a 40/12/8 stat line, Dallas came up short again, losing to the Hornets 110-104.
The loss pushed their streak to four in a row, and has pushed the Dallas Mavericks all the way down into the 11th spot in the West, where they will remain for at least a day or two pending the result of the Thunder game this evening.
Can they recover? They’d have to go on a small winning streak if they have any hopes of getting back into the top-6 and avoiding the play-in, but they’ll have to make their case on the road. Their final three will be at home, but those games won’t mean much if the Mavericks can’t pick up a few victories in away games against the Pacers, 76ers, Heat, and Hawks.
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