With the Raptors wrapping up their toughest road trip of the season in Dallas, we thought it would be appropriate to bring in Tobin Hodges, Dallas native, and co-host of Spread the Floor podcast.
In addition to previewing Saturday’s game at American Airlines Center, we had to take a trip down memory lane — specifically, to the Mavericks’ surprising 2010-11 championship season.
Before that season, Miami acquired Lebron James and Chris Bosh, immediately turning the Heat into heavy favourites (+175) to capture the title. Further down the preseason championship odds list was Dallas at +2000 (7th). Led by superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, and masterful coaching by Rick Carlisle, the Mavericks were able to upset the heavily favoured Heat in the Finals.
Fast forward eight years, as the 2-time defending champ, Golden State Warriors, entered the 2018-19 season as heavy favourites (-168) to three-peat. Further down the list was Toronto at +1850 (5th). Led by superstar, Kawhi Leonard, and masterful coaching by Nick Nurse, the Raptors were able to upset the heavily favoured Warriors in the Finals.
Like two peas in a pod, this was a fun episode as Jason went solo (Dre and I sat out due to load management) and immediately became the podcast version of the Spiderman staring at Spiderman meme. Enjoy the latest episode of That’s A Rap!
On This Week’s Episode:
The parallels between the Dallas ‘11 championship run and Toronto’s ‘19 championship run stretch beyond the example above. From the leadership of a veteran guard (Jason Kidd / Kyle Lowry), to the do-it-all wing (Shawn Marion / Pascal Siakam), to the hot shooting of their sixth man (Jason Terry / Fred VanVleet), the Mavericks and Raptors had much more in common than Dwane Casey’s coaching.
Trip down Dallas memory lane wouldn’t be complete without discussions around Nowitzki or Vince Carter. Dirk may have solidified his spot in Dallas’ sports Mount Rushmore, but don’t forget that VC also carved himself a very productive few seasons in Texas.
While Raptor fans have Pascal Siakam to fawn over for the next half decade, Dallas has a similar star in Luka Doncic. Cool Hand Luka is also starting to get some MIP & MVP buzz. Doncic is almost averaging a triple-double (28.3 / 10.3 / 9.1) and scoring like a Daryl Morey wet dream. When he’s not bombing from beyond the arc (hitting almost three triples per game), Doncic is shooting 64.6% in the paint, which ranks 4th behind Clint Capela, Montrezl Harrell, and Giannis Antetokounmpo (min. 75 FGA).
Luka’s partner-in-crime, Kristaps Porzingis, is still shaking off some rust after missing 18 months of action. His shooting percentages are down across the board, while his turnovers and fouls are above career average. Do you think he’ll steady the ship and form an incredible duo that Mark Cuban (and Mavs fans) are dreaming of? Or will he continue playing like he’s on the Knicks (leading scorer mindset), instead of settling in as the Scottie Pippen to Luka’s Michael Jordan?
The Dallas bench has a couple of familiar faces. Dwight Powell has gotten off to a slow start. It’s very likely the domino effect of having Porzingis on the floor, but call me a Canadian homer because I foresee a positive turnaround in the near future. The same can also be said about ex-Raptor, Delon Wright. After starting a couple of games, he’s taken on a sixth man role behind Seth Curry. Raptor fans are well aware of the change-of-pace style that he can bring to the game. Things are looking up in Dallas!
Scratch that. They’re facing the Raptors on Saturday! Over the last three games, OG Anunoby — who returns to the lineup in Dallas — shut down LeBron James, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson harassed Kawhi Leonard, and Fred VanVleet rendered Damian Lillard useless, to the tune of 9/38 shooting (23%). Also worth noting that was over a 4-day span, with Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka out (plus OG only in the Lakers game). There’s a real possibility that Luka and Kristaps will see a lot of OG and Rondae, which allows Siakam to save energy for the offensive end, where Dallas will have no answer. Things are looking up for Toronto!
3:15 - Reminiscing on championships past
8:05 - Nowitzki Way
15:20 - The Carter Effect
23:05 - Cool Hand Luka
30:50 - Mishaps For-Zingis
36:00 - Dallas Bench
43:05 - Showdown in Dallas