It seems like yesterday that Mavs Gaming had just came out of their first batch of regular season games at 4-1 and one of the best teams in the league. Now, almost two months later, Mavs Gaming has lost their last four regular season games and currently sits outside of the playoffs.
After a frustrating loss in “The Ticket” to send them home, Mavs Gaming came back to Dallas motivated and determined to get back on the right track. The final stretch of regular season games was going to determine their playoff fate.
And it all started with a double-header weekend.
In the first game of the day on Saturday, Dallas was set to play a 4-6 Memphis team they were confident they could get past. The Mavs switched up their offense last week to an offense centered around Dimez at small forward and four shooters surrounding him. This week, Memphis decided to match Dallas and go head-to-head running the exact same offense.
As the game went along, one thing became very evident; Memphis wasn’t going to miss many three pointers. And Dallas wasn’t helping themselves with their help defense.
“I felt like we tried to help too much on defense,” Dayfri said. “They obviously hit way too many threes,” Devillon added.
Memphis would shoot 11/17 from behind the arc and stun Dallas in the upset.
“We had two seven point leads and didn’t capitalize on them,” head coach Jonah Edwards said. “We definitely shouldn’t have lost to the Grizzlies. That was bad,” added Dayfri.
— Mavs Gaming (@MavsGG) July 21, 2018
It was a close game heading into the final minutes, but the head-to-head matchup between AuthenticAfrican and Dimez took center stage. Dimez finished the game with 41 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. AuthenticAfrican finished with 33 points and 13 assists.
“We know every game over the past couple of weeks we could have won,” Devillon said. “It is just a matter of putting these games away.”
This was a heartbreaking loss for the Mavs as their second game of the day was against the best team in the league; the 8-1 Blazers. With a weekend goal of going at least 1-1, the emotions from the Memphis loss carried into the Blazers game.
When I asked coach Edwards about the vibe coming from the team in between the two games, he admitted it wasn’t the best.
“Definitely not good because we felt like we threw that one [game vs. Memphis] away,” Edwards said. “We felt like we brought the emotions from the Grizzlies game into the Blazers game.”
It was hard for the team to refocus in a matter of hours and you could see it on their faces. Communication between the team wasn’t the best and it showed.
Even though Dallas had the lead down to two points at halftime, the floodgates opened for Portland in the second half. The Blazers would beat the Mavs by 23 points and improve to 9-1.
Dallas would go 0-2 over the weekend and fall to 5-6 on the season. This would be their fourth regular season loss in the row and their fifth loss over the last six games.
“Honestly, we just went into these past couple of weeks with our heads down and not getting to the root of the problems we have,” Devillon said of what is going on with the team.
“Probably team chemistry,” Dayfri added. “We were just going through the motions.”
But the thing is, chemistry issues happen with the best of teams.
They live together. They eat together. They travel across the country together. They spend every day of the week together. Chemistry issues are bound to happen at some point, but it is how you respond to it that determines the path of your franchise.
And they know it. The time is now to turn things around.
“We know how important these last few weeks are and we plan to change and control our outcome,” Devillon said.
“It is win or die now…if we lose, we are out of the playoffs,” Dayfri said.
With the NBA 2K League Playoffs under a month away, the eight playoff spots are slowly starting to fill up.
The Knicks punched their ticket last weekend by winning “The Ticket” and the Blazers winning their ninth game all but locked up their spot. After that, the Pistons, Cavs, and 76ers all have seven wins and seem to be headed towards the playoffs.
This would leave three playoff spots up for grab over the final three weeks.
Three teams sit with six wins while five teams, including the Mavs, sit with five wins each. Do your math and that is eight teams with a shot at three playoff spots.
Dallas knows the opportunity in front of them, now it is time to show the rest of the league who they really are.
You can catch Mavs Gaming on Friday night as they face Magic Gaming at 6:00 p.m. CT. All games are broadcasted live at twitch.tv/mavsgg.