The Mavs' 2015-16 season was largely about being surprisingly good but then ended in a disappointing fashion, when they lost in five games to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Round One. Armed with a brand new core, and redemption on the mind, the Mavs are revved to get back out on the court this coming year. Now we've got the release of the 2016-17 Mavericks regular-season schedule. Here are the biggest games and storylines that Dallas has in store for the coming year.
DONUT 1. Opening night – October 26th at Indiana Pacers
The Mavs open the season on October 26th on the road against the Indiana Pacers, where they will face superstar Paul George and former Maverick Monta Ellis. It will mark the first time we will see Dallas’s newly constructed roster on the floor together. But the Mavs aren’t the only ones boasting a revamped roster. Indiana will introduce Jeff Teague and Al Jefferson to the home crowd as well.
DONUT 2. October 28th Vs. Houston Rockets
October 28th marks the Mavs' 2016 home opener, in a matchup against their arch-rival Houston Rockets. Mavs fans will finally be properly introduced to brand new players Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes, who landed with Dallas this past offseason as part of a successful Tier-2 plunge into Summer Shopping. (Check out how those two are doing in Olympic play for their respective countries here.)
DONUT 3. November 9th at Golden State Warriors
The Mavs travel to the Bay Area in early November to take on the NBA’s newest SuperTeam (or "SuperVillain'' and as Fish writes here, wouldn't it be fun for Dallas to someday be a "SuperVillain''?), and get their first look at Kevin Durant on his new squad. It will also mark the first return to Oracle Arena for Barnes and Bogut, as well as the Mavs' first matchup against former teammate Zaza Pachulia. This game will put the Mavs new defensive-minded starting five up against its biggest test of the season.
DONUT 4. November 16th Vs. Memphis Grizzlies
The jam-packed start to the 2016-17 season continues on November 16th, when Dallas will welcome former Mav Chandler Parsons to the American Airlines Center for the first time since his departure from the franchise. Parsons’s exit wasn’t the most graceful, on either side, but let’s face it, the Mavs weren’t willing to pay the max for a guy with his injury concerns ... and Memphis was. Should we expect a good amount of booing from the Mavs faithful? And is that justified? Oh, and Mike Conley, too, as we dream of what might've been.
DONUT 5. December 3rd Vs. Chicago Bulls
Speaking of booing, the Dallas boo birds will be out in full effect on this Saturday night, when the Mavs welcome two of the most hated opposing players in the league to the American Airlines Center. Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade, who both signed with the Bulls this past offseason, will come to town as the new faces of the franchise. Whatever happens, it should be a entertaining night at the AAC.
DONUT 6. January 26th Vs. New York Knicks
This night in late January will be the first time Mavs fans will get a chance to see the new look New York Knicks, who signed Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee this offseason. It will be interesting to see how this new lineup for the Knicks is getting along at this point in the season, and whether or not they will be bound for the lottery yet again, or fighting for a higher seeding in the playoff race.
DONUT 7. January 30th Vs Cleveland Cavaliers
The NBA’s defending champions, as well as the best player on the planet in LeBron James, will make the first and only appearance in Dallas on January 30th. Since his triumphant return to Cleveland, the Mavs have yet to defeat the Cavs with LeBron on the floor. Will the new-look Mavs drop yet another one to the highflying, uber-athletic Cavaliers? Or can they finally defeat Cleveland with James playing?
DONUT 8. February 13th Vs. Boston Celtics
As the NBA’s newly-minted Eastern Conference challenger to the Cavs, the Celtics and their shiny new toy Al Horford come to Dallas for their only appearance of the season. With the addition of Horford, the sky is the limit for the Celtics, and it will be interesting to see if they can live up to the lofty expectations they have entering this season.
DONUT 9. March 5th Vs. Oklahoma City
Everyone is wondering what the Oklahoma City Thunder is going to look like after the departures of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, and the addition of Victor Oladipo. Mavs fans will get their first look at the final product, as OKC makes their first appearance in the AAC of the season. If nothing else, OKC’s athletic backcourt should be exciting to watch, and will provide a steep test for Wes Matthews and Deron Williams. Will the Mavs be able to handle them?
DONUT 10. April 7th Vs San Antonio Spurs
As a long season finally begins to wind down to a close, it seems more than likely that the Mavs will be fighting for their playoff lives yet again in a brutal Western Conference. April 7th marks the Mavs fourth and final matchup with their big-brother arch-rival, the San Antonio Spurs. It will be by far the Mavs toughest test of an otherwise relatively easy closing month to the season. For the first time in almost 20 years, the Spurs will be without the franchise cornerstone Tim Duncan, with the team officially transitioning into the hands Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Can Dirk and the Mavs take advantage? Or will San Antonio actually be better with Pau Gasol taking Duncan’s place?
DONUT 11. Highs And Lows
So the picture starts to come together: Dallas gets eight national TV games ... Our man Coop notes that in March we get the fun of a home Friday/Saturday B-2-B with the Nets and Suns in town. Oh, and the Mavs play just 15 back-to-backs this season after playing 17 last season. ... The Lakers are here on Jan. 22 and March 7. But Kobe won't be. So we don't expect the usual high number of "Lakers fans'' to infiltrate the AAC ... See the full schedule ... and discuss it all here on DB.com Boards!
DONUT 12. The Final Word
Oh, the last game of the season. Wednesday, April 12, the Grizzlies and CP again. At Memphis. Part of Dallas closing the year with seven of nine on the road. Two teams from the same division, likely fighting for playoff position, plus, you know ... the other thing.