With the Mavericks and rebounding, usually it’s a losing battle. However, through five games so far in the 2015-16 NBA season, opponents only hold an overall advantage on the glass of 243 to 240. Feels like more. Way more.
DeAndre Jordan and Julius Randle hit the Mavs up for 15 boards.. Luis Scola and Marvin Williams had 12. So even though the overall edge –helped by a +15 last Sunday against the hapless Lakers— is tilted Dallas’ way, the opponent’s presence on the glass and on the inside altogether has been a problem for these Mavericks. And last year’s, and the year before and the year before and the year before that.
The last time the Mavericks were a better rebounding team than their opponent’s was 2010-2011, a pretty special year if I may recall. Despite the presence of Tyson Chandler that year and also 2014-15, the Mavs have simply never had much of an inside presence. Including my man Raef LaFrentz. Sorry, Raef.
This is why I wasn’t kidding when I said Zaza Pachulia might be the second best center in franchise history. The veteran center, despite fans already calling for JaVale McGee to claim the starting spot, has been one of the Mavs’ bright spots so far this year. The 13-year veteran has three double-double’s in the first five games. Maybe look at the team’s 30% 3-point percentage before blaming Zaza.
Next up for Dallas is fellow Southwest Division squad, the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite 43/10/4(steals)/3(blocks) from Anthony Davis, one of the premier players in the league, the Pelicans lost again last night. This time at home to Atlanta to fall to 0-5 in the young season. The Mavericks have lost the first two of a three game home stand, their first of the year. Dallas was 27-14 at home last season, tied for 12th in the league.
On the flip side, an off-season to heal roster-wide injuries and another year under the belt for “Brow” had many projecting the Pelicans to repeat as Western Conference Playoff attendees, this time in a more convincing fashion than 2015’s 8th seed. Alvin Gentry left the Golden State Warriors bench to sprinkle some championship magic on the Pellies. However, before the season even began, Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik were hurt (again), Jrue Holliday was ailing (again), Norris Cole was out as well and since they have also lost Kendrick Perkins and Quincy Pondexter. The Pelicans have already run through a few free agents this year, Nate Robinson playing one of the two games New Orleans has had to endure against Golden State, Toney Douglas coming on board after the Opener and Ish Smith lasting the season’s duration thus far.
Facing off with the Mavericks for the first of four times this season, both team’s know all about playing short-handed. Dallas does have Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons and Deron Williams on the court, but definitely not at full strength. The Hornets Pelicans at 0-5 and the 2-3 Mavs aren’t going to use injuries at an excuse, but they’ve got a pretty nice one tailor made.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki (16.8)
New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis (25.2 – 6th in league)
Mavericks: Zaza Pachulia (9.4)
Pelicans: Anthony Davis (10)
Mavericks: Deron Williams (6)
Pelicans: Ish Smith (7.6 – 5th in league)
Pelicans: Anthony Davis (3 – 4th in league)
Mavericks: Devin Harris (1)
Pelicans: Ish Smith (1.6)
Mavericks: Wesley Matthews (+2.8)
Pelicans: Ish Smith (0.0)
Dallas Mavericks: JaVale McGee (Leg): Questionable
New Orleans Pelicans: Omer Asik (Calf): Questionable
Tyreke Evans (Knee): Out
Kendrick Perkins (Pectoral): Out
Quincy Pondexter (Knee): Out
Norris Cole (Ankle): Out