Game Preview: Mavericks Look to Protect Home Court Against Rockets

Luka Doncic

Getty Luka Doncic smiles after a win against the Toronto Raptors.

After a bounce-back win over the Toronto Raptors, the Dallas Mavericks are coming home for the first time this season. In a game against the Houston Rockets, they’ll defend their home court with momentum in their favor.

With a 1-1 record, Wednesday night is an opportunity for the Mavericks to have a winning record for the first time this season.

On Saturday evening, Dallas will play their home opener in a game against the young Rockets. At 8:30PM ET, these two teams will match up at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Mavericks will play against Houston four times total this season, as a division-rival in the state of Texas.

How will the Mavs perform against a team that they’re favorites over? 

Young and Energetic

The Rockets are an extremely young team, headlined by a dynamic backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. However, being young shouldn’t be a reason to take this team lightly. 

Jalen Green

GettyJalen Green and Josh Christopher of the Houston Rockets.

Playing with a ton of energy and passion, they’ve got the firepower to score a ton of points. 

With a 1-2 record through three games, Houston is a solid 3-point shooting team. At this point in the season, their 14 made 3s per game is good for seventh in the NBA. As a team, they’ve converted on 40.8% of their attempts from beyond the arc, which is the fourth-best in the league. 

With that in mind, Dallas will need to put an emphasis on perimeter defense. In Green’s last game, he hit eight of his ten 3-point attempts, showing flashes of why he’s considered one of the best young scorers in the NBA already. 

Being young has also been to the Rockets’ disadvantage, as they have an issue taking care of the ball. Their 20.3 turnovers per contest are the second most of any team in the NBA. If the Mavericks are able to tighten up on defense, they’ll be able to exploit that and score points off turnovers. 

Improving on Offense

Surprisingly enough, the Mavericks have struggled quite a bit on offense this season. In fact, they have the third-worst offensive rating in the NBA at 96.4 through two games.

Their scoring leaders have been Luka Doncic (22.5 points per game), Tim Hardaway Jr. (19.5 points) Kristaps Porzingis (14.5 points) thus far. While those guys have looked solid offensively, the rest of the roster has slacked. 

Reggie Bullock is someone that could step up off the bench, after being the Mavs’ biggest offseason acquisition. He’s only scored four points all season. 

Another player that has struggled is Dwight Powell. After earning the starting center spot, he’s only produced 7.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. On a team that needs to crash the glass harder, is it time for a move at center?

Either way, they’ll have to get more out of their bigs if they want to have success this season. 

With a struggling offense, the Mavericks have a real chance to gain some confidence against a rebuilding Rockets team. If they’re able to have success, it could be a huge piece of momentum going forward. 

For several reasons, this game against Houston is huge for Dallas. 

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