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The NBA returns to the Arab Gulf when the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves face off in Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi! It will be the second consecutive year the NBA will host a preseason game in the UAE.
Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving lead a Dallas Mavericks team aiming for a return to the NBA Playoffs. On the other side of the court, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, fresh off of the FIBA World Cup disappointment, aim to bring the Minnesota Timberwolves to new heights.
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|Dallas Mavericks||-1.5 (-110)|
|O 222.5 (-110)|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||+1.5 (-110)|
|U 222.5 (-110)|
The Minnesota Timberwolves have benefitted from entering training camp with a healthy squad. Add in the return of valuable contributors and new blood through free agency, and the Timberwolves are surprisingly deep. Stars aren't expected to play a significant role in preseason matches, so expect the pace and quality of the Timberwolves bench to overcome the Mavericks.
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|Dallas Mavericks||22-23 Head-to-Head||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Jason Kidd||Head Coach||Chris Finch|
|38-44 (11th in West)||Standing||42–40 (8th in West)|
|116.8 (6th of 30)||Off Rtg||113.7 (23rd of 30)|
|116.7 (24th of 30)||Def Rtg||113.8 (10th of 30)|
|96.6 (28th of 30)||Pace||101.0 (7th of 30)|
22-23 Leaders (Per Game)
|L. Doncic (32.4)||PPG||A. Edwards (24.6)|
|L. Doncic (8.6)||RPG||R. Gobert (11.6)|
|L. Doncic (8.0)||APG||D. Russell (6.2)|
|L. Doncic (1.4)||SPG||A. Edwards (1.6)|
|C. Wood (1.1)||BPG||R. Gobert (1.4)|
|D. Powell (.732)/L. Doncic (10.9)||FG%/FGM||R. Gobert (.659)/A. Edwards (8.9)|
|J. Hardy (.404)/T. Hardaway Jr. (3.0)||3P%/3PM||M. Conley (.420)/A. Edwards (2.7)|
The Dallas Mavericks are still chasing the success of their 2022 Western Conference Finals appearance, and they're trying to achieve that by bringing back Kyrie Irving to pair with Luka Doncic in the backcourt. While the Mavericks don't boast impressive depth on paper, rookie prospects Olivier Maxence-Prosper and Dereck Lively II may get an opportunity to contribute from the get-go.
Last year's Dallas Mavericks were among the most middling teams in the NBA. While their offense was efficient, it lacked volume as their slow pace resulted in just 114.2 points per game (16th in the NBA) despite hitting 15.2 threes per game (3rd in the NBA). The defensive side saw similar results for Dallas, as their top-ranked three-point defense, with 11.1 threes allowed per game, still resulted in 48.5% field goal shooting from their opponents (24th in the NBA).
The Mavericks are looking to balance offense and defense this season to help them compete. Everyone knows Luka Doncic can produce, but there are questions about who, beyond Irving, will step up their production to push Dallas back into title contention.
Luka Doncic's availability is debatable as he is nursing a thigh issue, but he'll be considered available until proven otherwise. An all-around performer and the marquee star of the Abu Dhabi Games, Doncic averaged 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists last season. Don't expect Doncic to play most of Dallas' first preseason game, but expect him to be productive in those minutes.
The Mavericks doubled down on their acquisition of Kyrie Irving by re-signing him this summer. After averaging 27.0 points and 6.0 assists in 20 games for the Mavericks last season, all can see the potential of Dallas' All-Star pairing. It's just down to execution.
Defensive big man Grant Williams was Dallas' key free agency acquisition this summer, coming off of a season where he averaged 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists with the Celtics.
With all members healthy as they enter training camp, expectations are high for the ambitious Minnesota Timberwolves. Anthony Edwards projects to take another step in his development this season, with productive veteran big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert flanking him. In terms of versatility and depth, the Timberwolves have never looked better.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had one of the most willing offenses last season, posting a pace of 101.0 - good enough for seventh in the NBA. They weren't volume shooters as many would've expected, instead opting for a more deliberate offense and defense that resulted in the third-best field-goal percentage in the league.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Minnesota Timberwolves are long, athletic, and can employ any number of defenses. The point of contention will be the quality of their offense, as a healthy group means touches between Edwards, Towns, and Gobert have to remain efficient.
Anthony Edwards is the man to watch for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season, he averaged 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. After leading Team USA to a disappointing FIBA World Cup finish, he'll be looked at to bounce back with a star-like performance for the T-Wolves this season.
Karl-Anthony Towns played just 29 games last season, but his productivity in that time bodes well for a healthy season with Minnesota. In 29 games, he averaged 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 49.5% shooting from the field.
Rudy Gobert continues to anchor the paint for the Timberwolves after averaging 13.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game last season.
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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