The Starting 5: Top 5 Dirk Games

Every game's a great game to watch our GOAT play, but here are the five Dirk games you won't want to miss this season!

DALLAS – The NBA schedule for the 2018-’19 season was released Friday, and after a close examination, the Dallas Mavericks will be playing a lot of games in a short period of time.

The Mavs open the regular season Oct. 17 on the road against Phoenix in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN. That contest pits the No. 1 overall pick in this past June’s NBA Draft – the Suns’ Deandre Ayton – against the Mavs’ Luka Doncic, who was the third overall pick in the most recent draft.

The opener also reunites Doncic with first-year Suns coach Igor Kokoskov, who coached the Mavs’ prized rookie on the Slovenian national team.

After playing the Suns, the Mavs return home to play their home opener on Oct. 20 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Overall, there are 11 different sequences where the Mavs will play three games in four days. Those 33 games represent over one-third of the 82 games the Mavs will play this season.

And in seven of the aforementioned scenarios, all three games in that set will be played in three different cities.

The Mavs will face more difficulties as they’re set to play 14 sets of back-to-backs. In addition, from Dec. 30-Jan.5, Dallas will play five games in seven days.

Actually, the Mavs catch an early break as three of their first four games are against teams that were in the NBA Lottery last spring. In addition to the season opener against the Suns, Dallas plays host to the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 22 and fly to Atlanta to meet the Hawks on Oct. 24.

However, the Mavs will put on their hard hats and finish October with games at Toronto (Oct. 26), at home against Utah (Oct. 28), and on the road against San Antonio (Oct. 29) and the Los Angeles Lakers (Oct. 31).

The most challenging month of the season for the Mavs is December when 11 of their 16 games are against teams that qualified for last year’s playoffs. That includes two games apiece against Portland, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Clippers, and single games against the two squads that battled for seven grueling games in last year’s Western Conference Finals – the world champion Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

By Dec. 31, 22 of the 36 games the Mavs will have played will be against teams that advanced to the playoffs last season. That includes three games against Oklahoma City, two each against the Warriors, Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, and one against the Boston Celtics and Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors.

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors will play twice in Dallas this season – on Nov. 17 and Jan. 13. Meanwhile, LeBron James and the Lakers will make their only appearance at American Airlines Center on Jan. 7.

On the holiday front, the Mavs will face James (with the Lakers) for the first time on Oct. 31, aka Halloween, in Los Angeles. The Mavs don’t play on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day or Valentine’s Day, but they do hit the road to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on New Year’s Eve.

Also, the Mavs are set to square off against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Jan. 21 on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Mavs’ longest home stand this season is from Dec. 2-12 and consists of five games. Dallas hosts the Clippers on Dec. 2, Portland on Dec. 4, Houston on Dec. 8, Orlando on Dec. 10 and Atlanta on Dec. 12.

By contrast, the Mavs’ longest road trip is only four games (Dec. 18-23) and consumes contests against Denver (Dec. 18), the Clippers (Dec. 20), the Warriors (Dec. 22) and Portland (Dec. 23).

As far as national televised games go, as of now the Mavs will have five games on the big screen. In addition to the ESPN season opener against the Suns, ESPN will also televise Dallas’ Oct. 24 game in Atlanta.

In the meantime, TNT is set to televise the Mavs-Suns game in Phoenix on Dec. 13, the Mavs-Clippers contest in Los Angeles on Dec. 20, and the Mavs’ Mar. 14 game in Denver.

With a possible playoff berth looming, the Mavs’ final home game is Apr. 9 against the Suns and their regular season finale is Apr. 10 at the San Antonio Spurs.

In the case of their in-state rivals, the Mavs will play at Houston on Nov. 28 and Feb. 2, and host the Rockets on Dec. 8 and Mar. 10. In addition to the last game of the season in San Antonio, Dallas will also play in San Antonio on Oct. 29 and will entertain the Spurs on Jan. 16 and Mar. 12.

Click here to download the full schedule.

Notable Games:

Opening day…….. …Oct. 17 at Phoenix
Home opener………Oct. 20 vs. Minnesota
Warriors in Dallas…Nov. 17, Jan. 13
Celtics in Dallas…….Nov. 24
Rockets in Dallas……Dec. 8, Mar. 10
Lakers in Dallas…..Jan. 7
Spurs in Dallas……….Jan. 16, Mar. 12
All-Star game………..Feb. 17 in Charlotte
Longest home stand……Three games (four times)
Longest road trip……….Four games (twice)
Regular season finale………Apr. 10 in San Antonio

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