There’s a big difference between 1-1 and 0-2.
Not only does losing the first two games of the season make a team feel just a bit more desperate, but in this year’s stacked Western Conference, starting behind the 8-ball makes qualifying for the playoffs that much harder. Both the Mavs and Jazz fell in their respective season openers, so tonight we’ll see two teams desperate to get in the win column.
There are two modes of thinking when it comes to considering the importance of a potential win. The first is this is just a November game, so winning isn’t imperative. The other, more realistic take, however, is that every single game matters in the West, and it’s a lesson that Dallas, Memphis, and Phoenix learned last season, as the three teams battled down to literally the last shot of the season to see who would make which seed in the playoffs. It’s almost painfully cliche to say each game is the most important contest of the season, but it’s going to prove to be true in 2014-15.
This also happens to be the Mavs’ home opener, which adds another level of excitement to a game with a fair amount of intrigue. This is the first official glimpse Dallas fans will get in-person of the roster, and it’s also their first chance to see JJ Barea since he signed with the team yesterday. He’ll be active tonight and available to play, but whether or not he takes the floor is ultimately up to head coach Rick Carlisle.