Dallas Mavericks: 2012-2013 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

Haddon Anderson@HaddonAndersonAnalyst IJuly 30, 2012

Dallas Mavericks: 2012-2013 Schedule: Monthly Breakdown and W-L Predictions

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    After winning the 2011 NBA title, the Dallas Mavericks looked old and unfit to hang with the league's elite last season. Their quest to repeat as champions came up well short. They were swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Dallas fans then entered into the offseason with a heavy dose of optimism. The Mavs hoped to land prized point guard and Dallas native Deron Williams, but those hopes were dashed when Williams chose to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets.

    What's more, Dallas then saw Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, two pivotal members of their title team, bolt for new locations.

    Despite these happenings, Mavs management has been quite busy. They've made a handful of additions, and the Mavs' roster suddenly looks revamped, perhaps even restored.

    The additions of O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and Elton Brand not only fill gaps in a depleted roster, but they also help bring the Mavs back into title contention.

    Therefore, despite swinging and missing at Williams and bidding farewell to Terry and Kidd, Dallas will enter the 2012-2013 season with high hopes.

    It's time to analyze their schedule and break down how this team will fare. It may take some time for the new-look Mavs to mesh, but once they hit their stride, don't be surprised to see them in the upper echelon of the Western Conference.

November Schedule

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    Tuesday, October 30 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    Wednesday, October 31 @ Utah Jazz

    Saturday, November 3 vs. Charlotte Bobcats

    Monday, November 5 vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    Wednesday, November 7 vs. Toronto Raptors

    Friday, November 9 @ New York Knicks

    Saturday, November 10 @ Charlotte Bobcats

    Monday, November 12 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    Wednesday, November 14 vs. Washington Wizards

    Friday, November 16 @ Indiana Pacers

    Saturday, November 17 @ Cleveland Cavaliers

    Monday, November 19 vs. Golden State Warriors

    Wednesday, November 21 vs. New York Knicks

    Saturday, November 24 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    Tuesday, November 27 @ Philadelphia 76ers

    Wednesday, November 28 @ Chicago Bulls

Key October/November Games

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    Tuesday, October 30 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    The season starts with a bang and the Mavs get to be apart of it. Dallas will visit the Los Angeles Lakers in what will be new Laker point guard and former Mav Steve Nash's first regular-season game with the Lake Show. Fans will not only get a taste of how Nash and Kobe Bryant work together, but they will also witness the new-look Mavs hit the Staples Center floor.


    Friday, November 9 @ New York Knicks

    This Friday night matchup will surely garner publicity. The Mavs will roll into the Big Apple to battle Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. Expect a shootout in a game that is destined to live up to expectations. The Mavs will also play against a familiar face in Jason Kidd, now a floor general for the Knicks.


    Friday, November 16 @ Indiana Pacers

    This will not only be a tough game for the Mavs, but it will also feature point guard Darren Collison playing against the team that traded him this offseason. You can expect him to play with some extra motivation. This will very likely be a toe-to-toe bout.


    Saturday, November 24 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    The Mavs find the Lakers on their schedule twice in the first month. Winning one of these games would be ideal, and it will likely come in this late November matchup. By this time, the Mavs should be learning how to mesh with one another and should give the Lakers all they can handle and more.


    Wednesday, November 28 @ Chicago Bulls

    The Chicago Bulls have been amongst the league's elite the past couple seasons, but Dallas conveniently travels to Chicago early in the season. This is convenient because 2011 MVP Derrick Rose is not expected to be back by then, and thus the Mavs have a golden opportunity to steal a game on the road.


    October/November   W-L Prediction: 11-5

    Wins: Bobcats, Trail Blazers, Raptors, Bobcats, Timberwolves, Wizards, Cavaliers, Warriors, Knicks, Lakers, Bulls

    Losses: Lakers, Jazz, Knicks, Pacers, 76ers

Preview and Predictions for October/November

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of October/November

    There are plenty of intriguing matchups in Dallas' opening stages, but the one that sticks out is when the Mavs take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in mid-November. Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love will surely be bringing their A-games at each other. Love has emerged as one of the game's most skilled big men. Can he outshine Dirk on Dirk's home floor?


    Mavs' Best-Case Scenario for October/November

    The best-case scenario is for their new roster to gel right away and steal a couple early-season games on the road. If they can do this and take care of a plethora of home games against subpar opponents, they could very likely enter December with a record of 13-3 or 12-4.


    Mavs' Worst-Case Scenario for October/November

    They limp out of the gates and look like they miss Terry and Kidd. Mayo and Collison show signs of talent but clearly look out of sync with Nowitzki. This leads to no impressive road wins and a couple lackluster home losses against average opponents. They then hit December with a record hovering around .500. 

December Schedule

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    Saturday, December 1 vs. Detroit Pistons

    Wednesday, December 5 @ Los Angeles Clippers

    Thursday, December 6 @ Phoenix Suns

    Saturday, December 8 @ Houston Rockets

    Monday, December 10 vs. Sacramento Kings

    Wednesday, December 12 @ Boston Celtics

    Friday, December 14 @ Toronto Raptors

    Saturday, December 15 @ Minnesota Timberwolves

    Tuesday, December 18 vs. Philadelphia 76ers

    Thursday, December 20 vs. Miami Heat

    Friday, December 21 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    Sunday, December 23 @ San Antonio Spurs

    Thursday, December 27 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    Friday, December 28 vs. Denver Nuggets

    Sunday, December 30 vs. San Antonio Spurs

Key December Games

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    Wednesday, December 5 @ Los Angeles Clippers

    The Mavs possess a treacherous December schedule and it would be wondrous for them to get an early December road victory against the Clips. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will make this difficult for Dallas, but if the Mavs can sneak a win in L.A., perhaps they will gain momentum for the bevy of difficult games ahead.


    Thursday, December 20 vs Miami Heat

    A rematch of the 2011 Finals is certain to be entertaining, but things will look much different in this Christmastime showdown. The new-look Mavs will have the challenge of squaring off with the now-reigning champion Miami Heat, who are much more mature than what they were when the Mavs ousted them a couple seasons ago.


    Friday, December 21 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    O.J. Mayo returns to the city where he played his first four NBA seasons. It will be difficult for the Mavs to notch a victory, but perhaps some extra motivation from Mayo helps them squeak out a last-minute W.


    Thursday, December 27 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    In the 2011 playoffs, the Mavs derailed Oklahoma City in five games. Last season, it was quite a different story as OKC swept Dallas. These two southern foes have developed a heated rivalry. Who will notch the victory in their first meeting of the 2012-2013 season?


    Sunday, December 23 @ San Antonio Spurs & Sunday, December 30 vs. San Antonio Spurs

    The Mavs meet their in-state rivals from San Antonio on back-to-back Sundays, which will be crucial games for both squads. Amidst a brutal December, Dallas can't afford to drop both of these games to their arch enemies.


    December W-L Prediction: 8-7

    Wins: Pistons, Suns, Rockets, Kings, Raptors, 76ers, Nuggets, Spurs

    Losses: Clippers, Celtics, Timberwolves, Heat, Grizzlies, Spurs, Thunder

Preview and Predictions for December

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of December

    Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant have already developed a history of eye-opening performances against one another. While they aren't typically guarding one another, their back-and-forth scoring and fiery competitiveness is a delight for NBA fans. Expect this late-December matchup in Oklahoma City to be no different. Dirk and Co. will be seeking revenge against the Thunder after a nightmare year against them last season.


    Mavs' Best-Case Scenario for December

    In December, the Mavs have a handful of opportunities to make some statement wins. If they are able to win a handful of games on the road, particularly over competitive teams like the L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, then the 2012-2013 Mavs will prove they're a force to be reckoned with. If this is the case, they could fight their way through December to an 11-4 record, but this is very wishful thinking for Mavs fans.


    Mavs' Worst-Case Scenario for December

    They begin the month slow and never recover. They not only lose the difficult road games, but they also drop a few inexcusable ones to teams like Houston, Toronto and Denver. This leads to a demoralizing month and they scrape through it with a 4-11 record.

January Schedule

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    Tuesday, January 1 @ Washington Wizards

    Wednesday, January 2 @ Miami Heat

    Saturday, January 5 vs. New Orleans Hornets

    Monday, January 7 @ Utah Jazz

    Wednesday, January 9 @ Los Angeles Clippers

    Thursday, January 10 @ Sacramento Kings

    Saturday, January 12 vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    Monday, January 14 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

    Wednesday, January 16 vs. Houston Rockets

    Friday, January 18 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    Sunday, January 20 @ Orlando Magic

    Friday, January 25 vs. San Antonio Spurs

    Sunday, January 27 vs. Phoenix Suns

    Tuesday, January 29 @ Portland Trail Blazers

    Thursday, January 31 @ Golden State Warriors

Key January Games

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    Wednesday, January 2 @ Miami Heat

    Every time the Mavs play the Heat, this will be considered a "key" game. The Heat draw that sort of publicity, and in this game the Mavs travel to the arena where they hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy in 2011. This game is a cause for hype, but it's unlikely the Mavs will come out on top in this one.


    Saturday, January 5 vs. New Orleans Hornets

    In this early 2013 matchup, the Mavs will get their first look at the 2012 No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis. Mavs center Chris Kaman will also have the privilege of playing against his former team. This game is a pivotal one for the Mavs to win, as they head into a three-game road swing afterward.


    Friday, January 18 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Mavs-Thunder rivalry ensues on this Friday evening. This game comes at the end of a four-game homestand for Dallas and a win here would make for an ideal climax to a perfect patch of four games.


    January W-L Prediction: 9-6

    Wins: Hornets, Jazz, Kings, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Rockets, Magic, Spurs, Suns

    Losses: Wizards, Heat, Clippers, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors

Preview and Predictions for January

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of January

    The Mavs landed O.J. Mayo and hope he can become a legitimate No. 2 scoring option to Dirk. Mayo's abilities will be pivotal every time the Mavs play the Thunder, and if Mayo can outshine Oklahoma City's James Harden, then perhaps the Mavs will regain the stronghold of this rivalry. Look for these two young shooting guards to attack each other throughout the upcoming season, particularly in their mid-January battle in Big D.


    Mavs' Best-Case Scenario for January

    They hit their stride at the dawn of the new year and begin to look like a team with too many weapons. Mayo emerges and consistently tallies impressive performances. Collison has found his role and is doing a superb job of getting everyone involved. And Nowitzki and Kaman continually compliment one another in the frontcourt. The Mavs surge to the top of the Western Conference after a 12-3 January.


    Mavs' Worst-Case Scenario for January

    They simply can't figure out how to mesh together and it leads to a string of losses, culminating in a handful of trade rumors involving Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Chris Kaman. The Mavs finish with 6-9 record in January and look like they'll have to fight for the remainder of the season to just make the playoffs.

February Schedule

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    Friday, February 1 @ Phoenix Suns

    Monday, February 4 @ Oklahoma City Thunder

    Wednesday, February 6 vs. Portland Trail Blazers

    Saturday, February 9 vs. Golden State Warriors

    Monday, February 11 vs. Atlanta Hawks

    Wednesday, February 13 vs. Sacramento Kings

    Wednesday, February 20 vs. Orlando Magic

    Friday, February 22 @ New Orleans Hornets

    Sunday, February 24 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    Tuesday, February 26 vs. Milwaukee Bucks

    Wednesday, February 27 @ Memphis Grizzlies

Key February Games

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    Friday, February 1 @ Phoenix Suns

    In a month with only four road games, it would be a spark to start things off with a road victory in Phoenix. The Suns are a lackluster defensive unit, so the Mavs could put a lofty number on the scoreboard if they're on their A-game.


    Sunday, February 24 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

    This post-All-Star-game showdown against the Lakers could be a playoff preview. It will be one to sit back and enjoy for a good three hours. A win for the Mavs could help solidify February as an extremely successful month.


    Wednesday, February 27 @ Memphis Grizzlies

    Winning at Memphis is not an easy thing to do, but it would be a perfect way to cap off a solid February. Perhaps Mayo's second return to Memphis is when the Mavs break through and snag a momentum-building road win.


    February W-L Prediction: 10-1

    Wins: Suns, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Hawks, Kings, Magic, Hornets, Lakers, Bucks, Grizzlies

    Losses: Thunder

Preview and Predictions for February

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of February

    O.J. Mayo was mentioned in the January matchup against James Harden. In February, it gets taken up a level to Kobe Bryant. At this point in the season, Mayo will have likely found his niche with the Mavs and be playing some of the best ball of his career. Is he ready to outshine Kobe in this winter rivalry game?


    Mavs' Best-Case Scenario for February

    Their best-case scenario is my prediction: a 10-1 record. This is very plausible since the Mavs' February schedule is highly favorable. In fact, the Mavs must take advantage of their light February schedule, particularly after a couple grueling previous months.


    Mavs' Worst-Case Scenario for February

    They still finish the month over .500 but they don't make any statement wins. They win the games they're supposed to against weak opponents, but continue to lose against the league's elite teams. Therefore, they remain on the bubble for the playoffs, clearly don't look a title contender and trade a couple veteran players away at the trade deadline.

March Schedule

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    Friday, March 1 @ Brooklyn Nets

    Sunday, March 3 @ Houston Rockets

    Wednesday, March 6 vs. Houston Rockets

    Friday, March 8 @ Detroit Pistons

    Sunday, March 10 @ Minnesota Timberwolves

    Tuesday, March 12 @ Milwaukee Bucks

    Thursday, March 14 @ San Antonio Spurs

    Friday, March 15 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

    Sunday, March 17 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

    Monday, March 18 @ Atlanta Hawks

    Wednesday, March 20 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    Friday, March 22 vs. Boston Celtics

    Sunday, March 24 vs. Utah Jazz

    Tuesday, March 26 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

    Thursday, March 28 vs. Indiana Pacers

    Saturday, March 30 vs. Chicago Bulls

Key March Games

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    Friday, March 1 @ Brooklyn Nets

    The Mavs open up March by traveling to Brooklyn to take on Deron Williams, who met with Dallas before re-signing with Brooklyn. What could make this game all the more interesting is if the Nets finally work out a deal for Dwight Howard. If this happens, the Mavs will have their hands full on this Friday night.


    Thursday, March 14 @ San Antonio Spurs

    This cross-state showdown comes at the point in the season when the playoff picture really heats up. Expect this game to be filled with playoff-like intensity.


    Friday, March 22 vs. Boston Celtics

    Jason Terry makes his return to Big D and he's sure to get quite an applause. Plus, this game should come down to the wire as these squads match up pretty evenly. 


    March W-L Prediction: 12-4

    Wins: Nets (x 2), Rockets (x 2), Pistons, Bucks, Cavaliers, Thunder, Celtics, Jazz, Clippers, Pacers

    Losses: Timberwolves, Spurs, Hawks, Bulls

Preview and Predictions for March

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of March

    Deron Williams is clearly a better point guard than Darren Collison, but with two March games against Brooklyn, Collison has a chance to reveal why he's not a consolation prize after the Mavs missed out on D-Will. Don't be surprised to see Collison play with some extra aggression in these matchups.


    Mavs' Best-Case Scenario for March

    The Mavs hit the road for six out of their first seven games in March. If they can get through that period with a record of 5-2 or 6-1, things will shape up very nicely for them for the remainder of the month.


    Mavs' Worst-Case Scenario for March

    They struggle in the early portion of the month and then find themselves losing a string of home games to quality opponents like Oklahoma City, Boston, L.A. Clippers and Chicago.

April Schedule

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    Tuesday, April 2 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    Thursday, April 4 @ Denver Nuggets

    Friday, April 5 @ Sacramento Kings

    Sunday, April 7 @ Portland Trail Blazers

    Wednesday, April 10 vs. Phoenix Suns

    Friday, April 12 vs. Denver Nuggets

    Sunday, April 14 @ New Orleans Hornets

    Monday, April 15 vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    Wednesday, April 17 vs. New Orleans Grizzlies

Key April Games

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    Tuesday, April 2 @ Los Angeles Lakers

    The Mavs begin a four-game swing on the road against the Lake Show. A win here will be difficult but especially valuable. A late season win on the road, particularly against the Lakers, will build great momentum for the playoffs.


    Sunday, April 14 @ New Orleans Hornets & Wednesday, April 17 vs. New Orleans Hornets

    The Mavs play the Hornets in two of their final three games of the season. At this point in the year, No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis will likely be emerging into a superstar. Therefore, the Mavs will have a tough time sneaking both of these games, but if they do, they could move up a seed or two in the playoff picture.


    April W-L Prediction: 5-4

    Wins: Kings, Suns, Nuggets, Hornets, Grizzlies

    Losses: Lakers, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Hornets

Preview and Predictions for April

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    Best One-on-One Matchup of April

    The Hornets' Anthony Davis is incredibly hyped on the defensive end and he should have plenty of opportunities to defend Nowitzki. This matchup will be fascinating. Will Nowitzki's savvy moves and finesse be too tough to handle for Davis, or will Davis' athleticism greatly disrupt Nowitzki's flow?


    Mavs' Best-Case Scenario for April

    They win three out of four during their four-game road trip and then win their remaining five games of the month. They thus finish the month 8-1 and steamroll into the playoffs.


    Mavs' Worst-Case Scenario for April

    They drop all four games on the road and lose a couple more at home before the season concludes. They drop a couple seeds in the playoff picture and in turn find themselves matched up with an elite team like the L.A. Lakers or Oklahoma City.

Final Predictions

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    Final Record: 55-27

    The Dallas Mavericks are definitely a much better team entering the 2012-2013 season than they were last year. They've shored up their front line with Chris Kaman and Elton Brand, and received a jolt of youth in the backcourt with O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison.

    Barring injury, this team will most likely win between 50-60 games. If the newcomers mesh quickly and if Mayo in particular emerges as a 20-points-per-game scorer, this team's potential is through the roof.

    What's more, if the bench provides ample minutes throughout the season, this squad could win over 60 games. Brand, Rodrigue Beaubois, Brandan Wright, Dahntay Jones, Vince Carter, and rookies Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder must provide stellar minutes to give the Mavs depth. A handful of these players are proven in the NBA and should have no problem spelling the starters for extended periods of time.

    This team will still function through Dirk Nowitzki, but it suddenly has an array of options and weapons for opponents to prepare for. Because of this, the 2012-2013 Mavs are likely more talented than the champion 2011 Mavs. The question is whether or not the new-look Mavs have the poise and experience to overtake veteran, elite teams like San Antonio, L.A. Lakers and Oklahoma City in the playoffs.

    Mavs fans should be excited entering the upcoming season. This team will very likely earn homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and if they reach their full potential, they could be headed back to the NBA Finals.