Week ahead: Can Mavs snap losing streak?
Maybe not this month.
The Mavs don’t play a team with a losing record for the rest of the calendar year. They face two .500 teams -- the 76ers and Nuggets -- and five teams with winning records over the next two weeks. The Mavs are 1-9 against teams with winning records this season, the lone win coming over the New York Knicks, 114-111, at home Nov. 21.
A look at the Mavs’ opponents this week:
Philadelphia 76ers (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, American Airlines Center): The 12-12 Sixers tend to win ugly, ranking 27th in the NBA in scoring. Philadelphia did an outstanding job forcing the ball out of O.J. Mayo’s hands in a 100-98 win over the Mavs on Nov. 27, holding Dallas’ leading scorer to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Sixers small forward Evan Turner had 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting in that game. Point guard Jrue Holiday (18.4 ppg, 8.9 apg) is the biggest matchup problem for the Mavs, but he's missed the last two games with a sprained foot.
Miami Heat (8:30 p.m. Thursday, American Airlines Center): LeBron James and Co. ruined Christmas during their last trip to Dallas, blowing out the Mavs in last season’s opener after the banner-raising ceremony. James is an MVP candidate again, averaging 25.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 6.7 assists for a 15-6 team. Dwyane Wade might not still be a superstar, but he’s averaging 19.4 points while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. Dallas native Chris Bosh contributes 18.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as the Heat’s starting center.
Memphis Grizzlies (7 p.m. Friday, FedExForum): Mayo is in the midst of his best season after signing with the Mavs, but it’s not as if he’s been missed too much in Memphis. Perimeter shooting is the only real flaw for the 15-6 Grizzlies, who allow the second fewest points in the NBA. There might not be a better center/power forward duo than Marc Gasol (15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks) and Zach Randolph (17.6 points, 12.6 rebounds). Rudy Gay leads the Grizzlies with 19.0 points per game.
San Antonio Spurs (6 p.m. Sunday, AT&T Center): Will the Spurs ever slow down? They are 19-6 and rank second in the NBA with 104.8 points per game. Six Spurs average in double figures, led by point guard Tony Parker, who averages 19.2 points and 7.5 assists. At the tender age of 36, Tim Duncan is having another All-Star type of season, averaging 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
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Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.