Vernon Bryant / The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Mavericks season officially kicked off at home on Wednesday the 23rd. Last season was a whirlwind of emotions as the team said goodbye to the face of the franchise, and NBA legend, Dirk Nowitzki. The season also kicked off the introduction of the new face of the franchise, Luka Doncic, who went on to win the Rookie of the Year award. This upcoming year is going to be an exciting one for Mavs fans, and here are the top 10 games to get excited about.
10. Wednesday, October 23rd vs. Washington Wizards.
Yeah, I’m including the first game of the season. And yeah, I know that’s a lay-up here, but it’s true. With the addition of Kristaps Porzingis last season, who sat out the remainder of the year, this will be the first real game we see with Luka Doncic and Porzingis as they usher in a new era for the Mavs.
9. Saturday, November 16th vs. Toronto Raptors.
This is the only time all season the defending NBA champions visit the Mavs at the American Airlines Center. This would probably mean more if the Raptors kept their championship-core intact, but Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was always going to do whatever Kawhi Leonard wanted to do, which apparently meant heading to Los Angeles. Though this game will not feature the fun guy himself, it should be a fun one featuring breakout star and reigning MIP Pascal Siakam.
8. Friday, November 1st vs. Los Angeles Lakers.
Five games into the season the Mavs will face off against the new-look Lakers at home. There is always something of a circus that follows the Lakers, especially when led by LeBron James and his new super-pal, Anthony Davis. There isn’t really bad blood between Mavs fans and Danny Green, but he did mention how the Mavs were one of his destination teams in the offseason, before ultimately choosing Los Angeles. A win against the Lakers always feels good; this one would feel especially good. The Mavs have 13 nationally televised games, and this will be their second one of the year.
7. Tuesday, December 31st vs. Oklahoma City Thunder.
At this point in the season, Chris Paul (and who knows who else) may not even be on the Thunder. This game makes it in purely for it being on New Years Eve, and with it the possibility of an early celebration before you countdown the New Year. The Mavs really should win this game, so please, celebrate in moderation.
6. Thursday, December 12th vs Detroit Pistons.
This game makes the cut because the Mavs are one of four teams chose to play in Mexico this season. Obviously that makes the Pistons another one of those teams, as they will face off in Mexico City’s Arena Ciudad. "NBA games in Mexico City are a core part of our efforts to reach and engage basketball fans throughout Mexico and Latin America," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. This will be the Mavs seventh time playing a game in Mexico.
5. Wednesday, February 26th @ San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs have long been one of the Mavs biggest foes, and even though this game will not feature Dirk Nowitzki, or any of the previous Spurs trio of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, it will still be a big game. At this point in the season, both the Mavs and the Spurs should have things sorted out, and both will be angling for one of the last spots in a crowded playoff race.
4. Monday, March 16th @ Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers are projected by many to win it all this season. They have last year’s Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard and they shocked the NBA world when they traded for last year's top-three MVP finalist in Paul George. That’s exciting enough in it’s own right, however, what makes this game important is that it kicks off a four-game road trip. If the Mavs hope to jump into the playoffs, they’ll need to win games against some of the West’s top-tier talent. A win against the Clippers this late in the season would be huge.
3. Wednesday, March 4th vs. New Orleans Pelicans.
With the recent news of Zion Williamson undergoing surgery and potentially missing 6-8 weeks, this game has the possibility of being the first time the Mavs see the number one pick in action. With both teams building young cores full of potential, these teams could be set up for a rivalry for years to come.
2. Saturday, February 1st vs. Atlanta Hawks.
The draft-day trade last offseason, involving Luka Doncic and Trae Young, created an unexpected rivalry among Dallas and Atlanta fan bases. As the season progressed, it became clear they were the two best rookies that season. This will be the first time the NBA sophomore’s battle against each other and should be an exciting ride from start to finish.
1. Thursday, November 14th @ New York Knicks.
This is the second time the Mavs play the Knicks; what makes this game more significant is that it’s in New York. Kristaps Porzingis burned every bridge on his way out of New York mid-last season, so you can guarantee Knicks fans are going to be out in full-force for this potential revenge game, and we can only hope Porzingis responds in kind on the court.