When you look at the Mavericks’ roster and see so many new faces, it makes you wonder.
Is every NBA team going to have to endure this?
Will every team have to reach down to the G-League or find unemployed veterans who for whatever reason need a 10-day job?
“Everybody’s going through it,” coach Jason Kidd said. “When you wake up, you just wonder, who’s out?”
For the Mavericks, it’s seven players who are banished for health and safety protocols, including six that have been in the rotation much of the season. And of course, when one of them is Luka Dončić and another is Tim Hardaway Jr., you’re losing a lot.
That hasn’t meant they’ve been losing on the court a lot. Yes, they dropped a 102-95 decision to Milwaukee on Thursday, but the Bucks are the defending NBA champions. They didn’t have Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they’re still a very stout outfit.
No shame in losing that game, in which the Mavericks played with great spirit. They are 1-1 since the COVID-19 protocols ravaged them. Hopefully, some of those players will start trickling back in soon.
Here’s our takeaways from the loss to Milwaukee.
SHOOT!!!! No matter who the Mavericks run in and out of their lineup, one thing has been constant all season. They can’t find their shooting eyes. It’s like historically good shooters show up this season and suddenly have no touch. Against the Bucks, the Mavericks starters were a combined 9-for-31 from 3-point range. Milwaukee’s starters were 8-for-17. And neither bench shot well, but the point is that the efficiency of the Bucks’ starters was enough to overcome the Mavericks.
PLAYING FOR KEEPS: The Mavericks have no choice but to rely heavily on their emergency signees. They have particularly given forward Marquese Chriss and guard Theo Pinson long looks in their first two games. Expect the same for guards Brandon Knight and Carlik Jones in coming games. It’s going to be interesting to see if the Mavericks find value in perhaps keeping any of these players beyond their 10-day contract that was signed under terms of the COVID-19 hardship allowance. “You give them a fair opportunity to play,” Kidd said. “And the last two games they (Chriss and Pinson) did. They did everything they could. Unfortunately, they’re on a clock. It’s only 10 days. I don’t know if you can bring them back another 10 days, but again, against the world champs, depleted, or not, we were in the game. Those guys fought. The ball just didn’t go our way.”
TRYING TO STAY AFLOAT: For the fifth time this season, the Mavericks have slipped below .500. They are 15-16. They have never fallen two games under .500, but maintaining that won’t be easy. The Mavericks start a five-game trip at Utah on Christmas Day and will do so with lots of key players unavailable. Interestingly, the Jazz is one of the few NBA teams that has not had a single case of COVID-19 or any trips by players to the health and safety protocols.
STRONG NUMBERS, WRONG NUMBERS: Sterling Brown, playing his first regular-season game against the team he played his first three NBA seasons with, had a career-best 13 rebounds to go with 10 points. Brown also was going against former SMU teammate Semi Ojeleye . . . The Mavericks held the Bucks scoreless for the final 7:22 of the first quarter, after which they led, 23-15. . . The Bucks outscored the Mavericks 61-51 in the second half. Milwaukee shot 57.1 percent (24-for-42). The Mavericks shot 42.9 percent (18-for-42.)