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Dirk Nowitzki against the OKC Thunder
With their star forward set to miss six weeks as he battles a plaguing right knee, the Mavericks will have to fight for contention this season.
Last season, Dirk Nowitzki dealt with the same knee and still managed to finish the season, having only missed four games. But if he sits out for the full six weeks, the Mavs will have to play without their security blanket for 15-17 games.
Considering the fact that Nowitzki has never missed more than nine games in his 14-year career, this could spell trouble for Dallas.
Once he does return, there is no telling how the surgery will affect his playing. His signature move, the fadeaway jumper, relies heavily on him landing on his knee. Of course, Nowitzki will find a way to score regardless, but will he be able to resume scoring 20 or more points a game?
The Mavs have no choice but to look toward other shooters to step up in the meantime.
On the opening night of the 2012-2013 season, the Mavs stunned the Los Angeles Lakers on October 30, winning 99-91 at Staples Center. Darren Collison scored 17 points, Brendan Wright added 14 and OJ Mayo pitched in 12 of his own. It was a pretty impressive win, but it still isn't convincing because Dallas was facing an injured Lakers team. How will they fare against fully healthy opponents?
They cannot rely on OJ Mayo as their next best scoring option or Eddy Curry as their starting center since Chris Kaman is out, too.
Dirk Nowitzki is the heart and soul of the Mavericks, and how they perform this season will be entirely dependent on his health.