Dallas Mavericks: Thrilling Season Recap and Electrifying NBA Finals Preview

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Dallas Mavericks: Thrilling Season Recap and Electrifying NBA Finals Preview

When the Dallas Mavericks traded picks with the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 draft, every sports analyst thought it was one of the best trades for both teams. But hindsight is 20/20, and now we see this could not be further from the truth. Even though Trae Young has established himself as a deadly 3-point shooter and a good point guard, making the All-Star Game, Luka Doncic has shown what Real Madrid already knew by signing him at the early age of 16. The way he commands the offensive game is something that only a very select few players in the league, like LeBron James and Nikola Jokic, possess. He may not be the fastest or jump the highest, but Luka has one of the deepest offensive bags in the league, all while playing at his pace.

Recent Struggles

Dallas has always struggled to surround him with a decent winning cast of players, and the fumble of not signing Jalen Brunson may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. They even missed the playoffs completely in the previous season with a record of 38 wins and 44 losses. The fact that the Mavericks thought that lefty guard Jalen Brunson was not worth $15 million per season is mind-boggling, but in a stroke of good fortune, they signed a wild card veteran point guard that many thought had his best years behind him in the figure of Kyrie Irving.

Odd Couple

On paper, these two players should not work properly as they are both ball-dominant guards. But after all the scandals, one thing is for certain: "Uncle Drew's" ball-handling ability is legendary, and many consider his finishing ability at the rim one of the best of all time, if not the best. Luka Doncic has figured out a way to change his game just enough to make this work. He is averaging NBA 2K numbers with 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists in the 67 games he played with Kyrie. Irving averaged 25 points, 5 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game when he played with “Luka Magic,” making this one of the deadliest backcourts in recent history.

Regular Season Inconsistencies

Dallas struggled with consistency at the beginning of the regular season, always being in the lower echelon of the Western Conference. This was affected by the level of parity in one of the most demanding conferences of recent memory, so much so that legendary teams like the Golden State Warriors were eliminated in the play-in game, not even making the playoffs. Additionally, the “Mavs” struggled with injuries all season long, which led to Mark Cuban’s team finishing one game ahead of the play-in tournament with a record of 50 wins and 32 losses.

Playoff Run

Dallas grinded their way through the Western Conference playoffs' first round against the injury-plagued Los Angeles Clippers team filled with aging superstars. The series finished 4-2 and was marked by the fact that Steve Balmer’s team was missing the injury-prone Kawhi Leonard, who still shows sparks of his former self when he single-handedly took the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship in 2019.

Second Round

In the second round, they faced a young team led by the up-and-coming Canadian superstar guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was in serious contention to be named the MVP, averaging 30.1 points per game, 5.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds. The ultimate underdog, Gilgeous-Alexander, was selected with the eleventh overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2018 NBA draft before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers the same day, in exchange for the pick after him. Shai was later traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Paul George trade, which now looks like a king’s ransom for the former Seattle Supersonics team GM Sam Presti.

Dallas struggled throughout the series, but ultimately the lack of experience cost the young team dearly when All-Star Gilgeous-Alexander fouled PJ Washington in an almost buzzer-beater corner three. The Dallas forward ended up knocking in all three free throws, giving the win and the series to Luka’s team.

Western Conference Finals

The defending champions, the Denver Nuggets, and their just-named MVP Nikola Jokic faced a defensive juggernaut team in Anthony Edwards' Minnesota Timberwolves and their awkward lineup. In recent history, the only team to have two centers and be successful to a certain point were the New Orleans Pelicans when they matched their star Anthony Davis with DeMarcus Cousins. This ended up being a dangerous team but was wrecked when Cousins tore his Achilles fighting for an out-of-bounds ball after a free throw in a game against the Houston Rockets.

The Timberwolves had two actual 7-foot centers in their starting lineup with the recently named Defensive Player of the Year, Frenchman Rudy Gobert, who has four DPOY awards in his career, and the talented Dominican center Karl-Anthony Towns. This lineup matched against Jokic and his defending champions so much so that the series went the distance, but in the end, Edward’s team was too much for the Serbian to answer.

This hard-fought series took a major toll on the Minnesota Timberwolves, who barely won one game after a 0-3 start against a red-hot Dallas Mavericks team. The Mavs took care of business in just five games, signing their ticket to the NBA Finals where they will meet the talent-filled Boston Celtics. Currently, Fanatics Sportsbook is running a special Promo Code for the NBA Finals.

Celtics' Easy Road

It is no secret that the Eastern Conference of the NBA has always been weak ever since the times of Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and more recently, LeBron’s second stint with his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers. This trend continues with the Boston Celtics steamrolling the competition in all three rounds of the Eastern Conference Finals. In the first round, they met a Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat team and dispatched them 4 games to 1. In the second round, they faced a scrappy Cleveland Cavaliers team who were competitive until Donovan “Spider” Mitchell injured his hamstring halfway through the series, which helped the Celtics take the series 3 games to 1. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the same trend continued as Indiana Pacers' All-Star Tyrese Haliburton also pulled his hamstring, leaving him out of the series, propelling the Boston team to a commanding sweep.

NBA Finals Preview

Man per man, the Boston Celtics have a talented team. They have two of the best forwards in the game in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, plus one of the best wing defenders in the league, NBA Champion with the Milwaukee Bucks Jrue Holiday. This, plus a plethora of great role players like Derek White and the wild card of Kristaps Porzingis, makes this team one of the best Celtics teams in history.

On the other hand, Luka Doncic, even though he is battling various injuries, is playing some of the best basketball of his career. With an inspired Kyrie Irving, who is unstoppable because of his ball handling, the Mavs are a scrappy team to play against. Currently, Vegas has Boston taking the series in six games, but if these playoffs have shown anything, it is that the NBA is unpredictable. The first game of the NBA Finals will take place on June 6th at the TD Garden at 7:30 Central time.

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