A new year and a new decade are here. The 2010’s brought some of the highest highs for Mavericks fans, and some momentous events for the franchise. January 2020 is the start of a new year and it brings some important games for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs start the month with a 6-game home stand. They’ll have to endure three road trips, one of which will take them from Dallas to Portland, through Utah, at Oklahoma City, and then back home for a game the very next night.
First, let’s take a look at how the previous month went. We projected the Dallas Mavericks would go 3-2 in their Five Games to Watch in December, and that’s exactly what they did. This is impressive when you consider that they were without Luka Doncic for 5 games.
December’s Five Games to Watch – Results
Projection: Mavs lose
Result: Mavs won 114-100
Projection: Mavs win
Result: Mavs lost 112-118 OT
The All-Star break is coming up soon and the Playoffs are right around the corner after that. But the Mavs can’t get ahead of themselves. January is a good opportunity to gain some ground in the Western Conference.
Top 5 Games of the Month – January
Mavericks vs. Nuggets – January 8, 2020
The Denver Nuggets currently have the second-best record in the Western Conference. The last time these two teams matched up, the Mavericks were able to win on the strength of their depth, with 9 players scoring in double-figures.
That game was on the road, where the Mavericks are much better than they are at home…for some reason. This will be the Mavs’ fourth home game in a row, following three games against easier opponents.
This is a great opportunity to get a quality win over a higher-seeded opponent.
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Mavericks vs. Lakers – January 10, 2020
LeBron vs. Luka has been a fun matchup so far. The series is currently 1-2 in favor of the Lakers. I have to imagine the Mavericks will come out with extra motivation after the drubbing they experienced in their last game in LA.
I believe the Mavericks are better than the Lakers. The Lakers played excellent defense in their last game, and probably got away with some fouls, but I trust Rick Carlisle’s ability to make adjustments. I expect a big game from Luka and a solid outing from the entire team.
Mavericks vs. Clippers – January 21, 2020
In their last matchup, the Clippers played physical defense and shut down the Mavericks’ historically great offense.
How will the Mavericks combat that in their next game? I don’t know, but if the Clippers come out with the same intensity as their last game, I’ll be worried.
Mavericks at Jazz – January 25, 2020
This will be the Mavericks’ first game against the Utah Jazz this season. The Jazz haven’t been as good as some people thought they would be, but they’ve gotten into a rhythm over the past few weeks.
The Mavericks are close with the Jazz in the Western Conference rankings since they had a losing record while Luka was out.
If the Mavs stay where they are in the standings, their record against the Jazz could be a big factor in whether or not they have homecourt advantage in the Playoffs.
Mavericks at Rockets – January 31, 2020
This one is obvious. Division rivals. Interstate rivals. Not to mention the fact that not many NBA fans outside of Houston like the Rockets or the style of basketball they play.
The Mavericks already beat the Rockets in Houston once this season. This will be their second and final road game against them.
The Rockets have a high-powered offense, just like the Mavs, but they get it done differently, relying mostly on James Harden for points. The Mavericks’ depth and offensive balance should prevail over the Rockets’ one-man offense, but the Mavericks will need to lock in defensively.
Those are the five biggest games for this month. The extended home-stand that starts the month will be nice. The Mavericks just finished a tough road trip in December.
Hopefully, the Mavs will use the soft part of the schedule to build some momentum, pad their win total, and move up the ladder in the Western Conference.
I project the Mavs to go 3-2 during these Five Games to Watch in January.