The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of a 4-0 preseason stint, looking like one of the most well-rounded teams in the entire NBA. Now, they’ll look to carry that momentum into the regular season, as they have two games this week.
The 2021-22 season will be a pivotal one for the Mavericks, as they enter the first season with a new front office and head coach.
With Jason Kidd at the helm, the team has looked excellent thus far. However, nothing that happened in the preseason will matter once the regular season gets underway.
Either way, confidence is key and Dallas has a ton of momentum heading into their first game of the regular season.
Let’s take a look at the Mavericks’ schedule this week, as they hit the road to start the season.
Thursday: at Hawks
In one of the most anticipated individual matchups of the NBA’s opening week, Luka Doncic will face off against Trae Young. Two young superstars, they were traded for one another the night of the 2018 NBA Draft, sparking an immediate rivalry between the two guards.
While both have been spectacular to this point in their respective careers, the head-to-head matchup between the two will always be highly anticipated.
Last season, the Hawks made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals while the Mavericks were bounced out in the first round of the playoffs. Even if Doncic is a more decorated player to this point in his career in terms of individual accolades, Young has seen more team success recently.
Both Atlanta and Dallas have the potential to be a top-four team in their respective conferences this season, meaning this opening matchup against one another will be fascinating.
The outcome of this game won’t dictate who ends up having a better season, but setting the tone and getting off to a good start early in the season is key for a team’s confidence and success.
This first game of the season will be quite the test for the Mavs.
Saturday: at Raptors
The Mavericks will play one more game on the road this week before heading back to Dallas for a two-game stretch at the American Airlines Center. In the second game of the season, they’ll take on the Toronto Raptors, who are one of the most interesting teams in the NBA.
Toronto has the talent to be a playoff team. They’ve got a duo of Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam that are proven winners in this league.
Just a few years ago, they were crowned NBA champions and haven’t seen much success since. After a down 2020-21 season, they lucked into the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, selecting Scottie Barnes.
The Raptors also have two young, upcoming players in Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby, who both could have breakout seasons.
Either way, the Mavericks should be the better team in this matchup. Whether Toronto ends up being a playoff team or lands in the draft lottery once again, they still don’t have as much win-now talent as Dallas.
It won’t be an easy game for Doncic and the Mavs, but they should be the favorite even on the road against the Raptors on Saturday.