by mavsluvr at Today, 04:00 AM
Mavs, Blazers Wow in Shootout
Dallas Locks In Seventh Seed

It was an old-fashioned shoot-‘em-up in Orlando, and Dallas continued to sharpen their offensive game. 


Game Story

Seth was out again, with his right leg still sore. I continue to wonder about this. Hope he heals up. Trey Burke took his place in the starting lineup. 

The Mavericks started out brightly, pulling out to a 7-8 point lead and more or less maintaining it for nine minutes. Unfortunately, the Blazers went on a 15-0 run in the last three minutes, resulting in the Mavs’ being on the wrong side of a 31-38 scoreline after one. Dallas was running their offense through KP as long as he was in, to great effect. He showed great versatility, scoring from downtown, on oops, posting up, you name it. He also exhibited great synergy with Luka and Burke on the pick and roll. 

The second quarter featured pretty insipid shooting from both teams. The Mavs were 3-12 from deep, with the Blazers even worse at 2-12. Dame and Melo pounded Dallas from all quarters. Our boys had only 27 points in the period. Fortunately, Portland scored only 28. Our team went away from KP for some reason. He took only one shot in the frame, and missed it. The Blazers hammered the Mavericks inside, accumulating 38 points in the paint, to Dallas’ 20. Mavs 58, Portland 66 at halftime.

Dallas came out of the locker room looking more focused. They had some nice plays in the third period, including a Luka spin move on Dame, a nifty DFS drive and curl, and THJ posting up and drawing a foul. The team went back to KP, who had a 14-point quarter, to go with his 16-point frame in the first. The men from Texas came within three points of wiping out their deficit, going into the fourth trailing 95-98.

In the fourth, the Mavs rapidly caught up, gained a lead, and never trailed again until the last minute of the game. A crazy Lillard shot from downtown Orlando hit the rim, popped high up out of the TV frame and came down straight through the rim. Really? That tied the game, after a KP 3 had given the Mavericks an edge. KP fouled out on the next possession (offensive foul). 

Whiteside had a cutting dunk from Lillard. Blazers up two. Whiteside fouled Luka on the next play, and Luka split a pair of free throws. Blazers up one. After Lillard missed a jump shot, Dallas had a possession that ended up in the hands of DFS in the corner. He hit the three, but it was called off due to an offensive foul call on Burke away from the play. Hardaway then intentionally fouled CJ, who hit both of his free throws. Blazers up 3 with 4 seconds left. The Mavs took a timeout, then ran a play for THJ, who missed the three. Game Over. 


Analytics

The Blazers crushed the Mavs on the possession game, getting up a horrendous 17 more shots than Dallas. The Mavericks were -18 on points from twos, +15 on points from threes, and even-steven on made free throws. Our team missed 6 free throws in the fourth quarter — twice the margin of the game. I’m biting my tongue. 

The Blazers won the rebounding battle 48-37, and grabbed 12 offensive boards to the Mavs’ 5. Portland also had only 8 turnovers, whereas Dallas had 17, and gave up 18 points as a result. Some of these, I’m sorry to say, were just a result of sloppy play. The guys from the West Coast ended the day with a 15-point advantage in points in the paint. 

As one might suspect from the score, neither of these teams was playing a whole lot of defense. The Mavs had no answer for Damian Lillard, and indeed, it seemed to me that they were not going all out to even try. They trapped him a couple of times, and he passed out to Melo, who was also lights out. The Dallas defenders were not up to coping with Melo — he was too strong for Justin Jackson and DFS. Dame scored a career-high 61 points, and he and Anthony combined for 87. And they still barely won. Dang. 


Players

THJ (37 min) - Tim was scoring all over the place in this match, putting up 24 points — 6-11 FGAs, three threes, and 9-9 from the line. In the fourth quarter, he was the team’s high scorer with 9 points and hit all six of his free throws. He was at least attentive on defense, although he didn’t have the weight or strength to stop some of those big Blazers. Overall, I thought he contributed pretty much what he could be expected to. What more can we ask?

KP (36 min)  Porzingis was the best Mav on the floor, imho. He had 36 points on 12-17 shooting, and hit seven triples out of nine tries. He wasn’t just chucking. He scored in a wide variety of ways, and had the size and strength to hold his own against the Blazer bigs. It was too bad that he fouled out near the end. He was playing SO WELL. It seems like he grows in confidence with every game, and I like seeing him improve.

Luka (35 min) - Doncic neared another triple-double, with a 25-8-10 line, only seeming quiet in comparison to Dame. He may have been a little on the loose side with the ball, turning it over six times. But watching all his dashing moves was entertainment enough for the night. 

Burke (31 min) - Trey contributed 12 points on respectable shooting (4-9), but really sparkled as a playmaker, earning 9 assists and making numerous good finds. He had a shot over Dame, and another over Nurkic, and was part of several exciting highlight plays with KP.  I felt a little bad for him, getting called for the foul that took away the Mavs’ chance to go ahead at the last minute. He looks to be a good addition. 

DFS (30 min) - It was another fine night for Doe-Doe. He had 15 points on 6-8 shooting, including three treys. The development of a consistent offensive game by Finney-Smith could be huge for this team. He had some nice catch-and-shoots, but he wasn’t by any means just spotting up. He was cutting, driving, curling, making his defenders make some decisions. On the defensive side, I think he tends to get some assignments that probably aren’t quite realistic for him. He was not big enough or strong enough to defend Melo by himself, for example, and no one guards Dame one-on-one. Perhaps a better scheme could be devised, although this Blazer team has numerous shooters and scorers who can hurt you. 

Maxi (27 min) - Maxi also made an offensive contribution, with 12 points on 4-9 shooting. HIs threes were timely. That was encouraging. But he is asked to guard fours and fives that could be seen as setups for failure, and one wishes there could be a defensive scheme that doesn’t leave one man overmatched on an island.  It’s hard with these Blazers — you help on one and your own guy will make you pay. 

Wright (23 min) - Delon missed all of his shots and one of his free throws, but had one point to put on the board, and had 5 dimes to put in the piggy bank, along with a steal. He made a few moves that seemed to me like they were the right ones, but somehow it would go wrong at the end — instead of shooting, he would pass, or he would hesitate a little too long and lose his chance. I wonder if it something psychological with him. 

Justin Jackson got roasted trying to defend the stronger Melo. Boban had one shot, one rebound and a turnover in 7 minutes. The turnover was a bad one — a sloppy inbounds pass under his own basket, which the opponent grabbed and put in the bucket. Carlisle was not happy. MKG was subbed in for 7 min to defend Carmelo, and he had more success than some others at that task. He even earned an and-one at the basket, but missed the free throw.

Barea, Cleveland, and Reaves did not play - CD. 

BlazersDame laid a career-high 61 points on the Mavs. He got to the basket any time he felt like it, hit nine threes, and was 18-18 from the line. The Mavericks appeared to offer little resistance. Carlisle pondered the issue after the game, remarking that doubling Lillard just resulted in someone else torching them. More about that later.

Melo is not the selfish volume-chucker we used to see. In these enlightened days, he’s an intelligent sharpshooter who can destroy you before you even know it’s happening. He had 26 points (10-17 shooting), and also counted 8 rebounds and 2 steals in his line. 

Zach Collins bothered the Mavs, especially early, with 11 points and 8 boards. Gary Trent added 11 from the bench. 


Remarks

Rick had a bit of a resigned air at his post-game presser. He was a little disappointed in the first half, where he felt the offense was disjointed and stagnant.  In the third quarter, the team started moving better, defending better, and were able to make a run, getting back in it. The fourth was a tennis game, back and forth with neither team doing better or worse than the other. He thought that Dame’s super-long three that popped up into the skies and fell straight back through the rim was the backbreaker for the Mavs.  His boys gave themselves a chance till the end, and just came up a little short. 

Coach thought KP was just phenomenal on both sides of the court.  Aside from KP, the Mavericks just weren’t good defensively; He also felt his team was too inconsistent. He said they figured before the game that Dame would get around 15 threes (he actually hit 17), so he was not surprised by that. But he thought the Mavs absolutely could not be in the position of putting Dame on the line for 18 free throw attempts (of which he completed all 18). He thought allowing Lillard those free throws was the real difference in the game. 

I was curious how the Mavs would approach this match, as Portland was playing for their survival, and the Mavericks had the chance to keep a mathematical chance of moving up a seed alive with a win. Dame opined after the game that his team wanted it more, and it did look like that for stretches. 

My first comment is that you just can’t let someone go off on you for 61 points. Dame is a player who can do that sort of thing, but there has to be a way to get the ball out of his hands. If the other talented players beat you, then they do. It reminded me a lot of the Brandon Roy fourth quarter in the 2011 playoff series against Portland. Roy scored something like 23 points in the quarter, while Carlisle refused to double him, put a stronger defender on him, etc., and finally the Mavs, who had a 20+ point lead going into the fourth, lost. Carlisle admitted after the game that there were things they could have and should have done to stop Roy. I felt, in the same way, that they didn’t do the things they might have been able to do to rein Dame in, and it really got away from them. 

Another thing I noticed was the problems the shallowness of the roster leaves us. Seth, a starting player, was out, and Burke, a rotation member of the bench, took Seth’s place. That left putrid second units like Doncic, Wright, Jackson, Maxi, and Bobi, who just weren’t able to accomplish much. Maybe in the playoffs Rick will tighten the rotation up, and the lack of depth won’t be such a problem. 

The obvious issue staring us in the face is the Mavs’ woeful lack of defense. The Blazers were getting straight-line drives to the basket, open threes, easy shots all over the place. In fairness, the Mavericks were enjoying some of the same on the other end. Hopefully, the team can find some way in the summer to shore up their defense without subtracting from their offense. I thought I was watching summer league out there for a while. 

Not to be overly negative, though. Although the Mavs looked a bit listless for a while, they grew into the game and went toe-to-toe with Portland’s hot young team. The refs may have played a part in the result, although there is no point going into that. Their offense looks to be rounding into shape. 


Next. The team is locked into the 7th seed now. Their last regular-season game is against Phoenix on Thursday. The result will not affect the Mavericks’ standings, so we will see if they use the contest as a warm-up or choose to rest players. Hope to see you there!
by mavsluvr at 08-10-2020, 07:11 PM
Comeback Win for Mavs in Battle of Benches

The Mavs overcame a 22-point deficit, the largest comeback since February, 2016.


Game Story

This was a great game for fans who like to see the low-minute players getting some burn. The Mavericks rested Luka, KP, and DFS. Rick said that Doe-Doe is still nursing a lingering hip injury, and all three of the starters have been stacking up a lot of minutes and needed a rest on the first night of a back-to-back. 

The Jazz rested Donovan Mitchell, did not play their starters in the second half, and resorted to their third string when they had accumulated too big a lead. Utah appeared to be tanking, presumably in an effort to avoid the Rockets in the first round. 

Dallas broke out its 32nd starting lineup of the season with Barea, Curry, THJ, Justin Jackson, and Boban. The Mavs were in attack mode in the first quarter, earning 20 points in the paint. In a role reversal, the Jazz were slinging threes all over the place. Utah had 9 triples in the frame, whereas the Mavs were 0-1 from deep. Wasn’t expecting that! The opponent led 38-30 after one. 

In the second, we were treated to a number of rare sightings — Barea oops to Boban, Reaves to Boban for a dunk, Bobi screening for Seth, Burke with the team’s first three, etc. Utah maintained a small lead, and at 2:48, the Mavs had drawn within three. Unfortunately, the Jazz advantage had grown to 16 at the end of the quarter. Mavs trailed 54-70.

In the third, with the Jazz starters sitting,  the deficit quickly grew to 22. Utah, seeing its tank in jeopardy, brought the third string in for reinforcement, at one point having four rookies on the floor. The Mavs whittled the margin to ten after three. The scoreline was 88-100.

THJ gave the Mavs their first lead since the first quarter at 8:07 with a pull-up jumper. A Trey Burke three at 5:46 gave Dallas the edge for good. The Mavericks pulled out the W. The Jazz broke a franchise record for made threes in a game at 21.


Analytics

Dallas won this one on the strength of excellent shooting. Eight of the eleven Mavs who saw the court shot 50% or better from the field. The group were 12 of 24 from long range, and 14-16 from the line. They put together 58 points in the paint, while the Jazz had only 28. (Who’d a thunk?) Our boys were also very careful with the ball, with only 8 turnovers, while the opponent lost 20 points off giveaways. 


Players 

THJ led the team in points (27) and minutes (34). He was an excellent 11-15 from the field, and 3-6 from three. He took it on himself to be the first option, and was in attack mode the whole night. 

Seth was back to showing off his scoring prowess with 22 points in 29 minutes. He was 4-6 from deep and looked to be feeling his oats again. 

My man Boban looked like a Harlem Globetrotter out there, taking advantage of a 25-minute outing. He had 20 points on 7-11 shooting, and was 6-6 from the stripe. He also collected 9 rebounds, and had 2 blocks to show for his work around the rim. 

Barea looked like it was 2011 again, running the pick and roll, and lobbing to big men like old times. He put up 18 points of his own in 7-13 tries. He was quite the playmaker, racking up 8 assists with only 2 turnovers. 

Burke added 14 points off the bench (5-10), and dropped 4 dimes to boot. Maxi had 11 points (5-9), and was a positive force on both ends of the court. MKG had the team-high +/- at +21 in 18 minutes, and he never even took a shot!


Remarks

Rick described this as a “quirky” game, and I would echo that. It was fun in its own way, but I don’t really think we can take a lot away from this contest (although it did keep alive the Mavs’ mathematical chance of moving up in the seeding). It was a reasonably entertaining affair, and gave us a chance to get an extended look at a number of players that we don’t often see. Congrats to the guys for fighting their way out of a deep hole!


Next. Portland, tomorrow.
by Kammrath at 08-10-2020, 04:26 PM
Who was the player of the game who elevated his game above normal to help the team get the win?
by mavsluvr at 08-09-2020, 01:58 AM
Mavs Show Clutch Chops in Overtime Victory
Luka Explodes in Superlative Performance

The Mavericks took the number one team in the league to an overtime win on the back of a simply sensational night from Luka, and the team finally clicking on all cylinders. 


Game Story

Seth and DFS were listed as questionable before the game, but both made it into the starting lineup. 

First quarterThe Mavs got out to a great start, with everyone looking to be on the same page, and straightaway generated some highlight moments. Luka had a spectacular behind-the-back pass fake before going up for a bucket. About halfway through the period, Trey Burke had a nifty pass to KP for a SLAM! Toward the end of the period, Luka was called for a blocking foul when Giannis barreled over him. Rick challenged the call, and Giannis was rightfully tagged with the charge. In the last minute, Maxi had a defensive kick-out into Giannis’ nether regions, and on review, was called for a flagrant. Come on, man. The Mavericks got off to a pretty good lead, but the Bucks had a 7-0 run to end the quarter. 35-32 Mavs. 

Second QuarterThe second frame opened well, as Luka found cutters Delon Wright and DFS on their way to the basket. With five minutes left, Maxi was called for his third foul. He went to the bench shaking his head and looking chagrined before dissolving in snickers as Giannis air-balled a free throw, lol. Not long after, KP showed off his passing skills by following up a rebound with a lob all the way down the court to DFS, who dove to the basket and dropped it in. Unfortunately, the Bucks made a mega-run, largely on the strength of a 21-point quarter from Brook Lopez. Dallas trailed 62-71 going into the locker room. 

Third QuarterIn the third, Luka found KP on a baseline cut for a two-handed flush, WITH AUTHORITY. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made a debut cameo. Toward the end of the frame, Trey Burke had a lovely lob to Justin Jackson, who was fouled and hit his free throws. The Mavs ended the quarter with Luka breaking down the defense for another KP jam, a great pass from Luka to Jackson, and a steal by Burke. Dallas made up their deficit and then some, taking a 93-91 lead into the fourth. 

Fourth quarterThe fourth period started well, with a Luka-Maxi lob for an and-one. Doncic hit a step-back three over Wesley Matthews, followed by a catch-and-shoot from deep from Doe-Doe. The Mavs had the last 7 points of the quarter, taking the game to overtime at 119-119.

Overtime. Our boys scored the first 9 points of the period. The Bucks whittled the lead down to 2 a couple of times. KP fouled out at the 1:23 mark. At 1:08, Luka had a brilliant bounce pass between Giannis’ legs to Maxi, who had the presence of mind to reach down and grab it before going up for a bucket. After the game, Kleber said that Luka will always give you a shot if you’re in position, so you have to be ready for those between-the-legs passes, lol. Giannis fouled out with 5 seconds left, and Luka took the team home. 

What a fun game!


Analytics 

Neither team shot well from long range. The Mavs were 32% from three, but shot 60% from inside the arc, and were a fabulous 92% from the line. Dallas rebounded well, and got up 16 more shots than their Eastern Conference opponent. Although the Mavericks had 9 fewer FTAs than the Bucks, their highly accurate performance from the line resulted in both sides earning 23 points on freebies. All in all, the Mavs were -2 on points from twos, +6 on points from threes, and even on made free throws. 

Ball movement was stellar, and 37 of the Mavericks’ made baskets were assisted. Our men took very good care of the ball, losing only 6 points to turnovers, while the Bucks surrendered 19 points on giveaways. Finally, the Mavs emphasized getting to the basket, and had 54 points in the paint, exceeding the Bucks by 6. 


Players 

DFS (43 min) — Oh, what a night for Doe-Doe. He had a career-high 27 points, including 6 threes. He also contributed 11 rebounds (5 offensive) and 5 assists. Such a performance! He wasn’t big enough to guard Lopez and Giannis under the basket, but he was pretty unguardable as well. The Bucks tried to hide Lopez on Dorian, and DFS absolutely clowned him on the offensive end. Luka created some great shots for him, and he rewarded the trust. Great job from the small forward! More of that, please!

Luka (42 min) — OMG! There are no words!  The young star had 36 points, going 12-24 from the field and 9-10 from the line. He was awesome in terms of managing the game and not letting the offense get static. His scoreline also boasted 14 rebounds and an insane career-high 19 assists. And he’s only 21 years old! 

He earned his 17th triple-double of the campaign, making him King of the Triple Double for this season, it being too late for anyone else to catch up with him. He is the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in triple dubs for a season, and the only player to ever have a 36-14-19 line. Rick admired the “ridiculous” stats, but said he was most proud of Luka for his leadership, keeping everyone involved and dealing professionally with the refs. He says Luka is a “savant,” always knowing where everyone is on both ends of the court, and he views Doncic as in a class with Larry Bird and Jason Kidd in that respect. 

Luka was named a finalist for Most Improved Player of the Year. Amazing for a guy who was Rookie of the Year last season! What an incredible night for our superstar!! Hallelukah!

KP (40 min) — Porzee shone, with 26 points and 11 boards. He didn’t have a great shooting night (9-24), but went 7-7 from the line and was the only Mav who had the size and skill to defend the Bucks’ talented big men.  He served as the anchor on the defensive end, and confounded the hapless Bucks who tried to guard him. 

Others -- Hardaway had a big clutch three in overtime. Maxi was good for 15 points, and looked to be on a string with his teammates. Burke put up 10 points off the bench, and added 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes. 

Bucks — Brook Lopez had a career-high 34 points, including 6 from deep. Fortunately, in the end, he couldn’t keep up defensively. Khris Middleton had 21 points and 11 assists. Giannis was quite impressive with 34 points and 13 rebounds, although he was only 7-14 from the line. I have to compliment him for his great effort, but the poor guy just ran into a buzz saw against Luka. 


Remarks

This was just a wonderful performance from the Mavericks, despite the so-so three-point shooting. Truly remarkable at the end of regulation and in overtime. Beyond awesome from Luka. If this team played like this all the time, they could beat anyone! Fantastic!!!


Next. Utah, on Monday. Mosey on by. You never can tell what you're going to see when you turn on a Mavs game!
by Kammrath at 08-08-2020, 10:38 PM
Who was the player of the game who elevated his game above normal to help the team win?
by mavsluvr at 08-07-2020, 05:42 AM
Mavs Hang With Clips for 3.5 Quarters
Game Closer than Scoreline Would Indicate

Well, we knew the Clippers were the Mavs’ Kryptonite. At least our boys held on for most of the match. 


Game Story

Seth Curry was still out with his “sore right leg.” (What is that?) Boban took his place in the starting lineup. For the Clippers, Montrezl Harrell was still out for personal reasons, and Patrick Beverley sat with a calf strain. 

The score difference remained in single digits during the first period. It was a low-scoring quarter for both sides, and the Mavs trailed 22-23 at the buzzer. 

Much of the same in the second, with the Mavs holding small leads for pretty good stretches. The lead changed hands 10 times in the frame, and Dallas ended up two Doncic free throws short of taking an advantage into half-time. Clippers led 59-58 at the interval. So far, so good

The Mavs’ usual third-quarter doldrums appeared again, and the Clippers soared to a 12-point margin a couple of times. They were up 11 with three minutes left in the frame. The Mavericks gradually whittled at the deficit, and narrowed it to four by the time the period was over. Trey Burke went on a 5-0 run of his own to close the quarter at 87-91.

Luka took a break during the first few minutes of the fourth, and KP took over, scoring 9 points before he needed a rest at 7:44 with the Mavs down only one point. A Maxi triple tied the game at 6:41. Then, the bottom started to fall out. 
 
Let's examine. The number after the minutes remaining in each line is Dallas' net score resulting from the exchange of possessions.

6:20  -3  Clips offensive rebound and putback. Doncic missed three
5:44  -3  Clips made three. Burke missed three
5:11  -3  Clips offensive rebound and made basket. KP comes back in. DFS missed three, offensive rebound, and Burke missed three
4:18   0  Clips floater. DFS layup.
3:37  -1  Clips made three. Doncic hits two free throws.
3:14  +1  Clips hit two free throws after DFS shooting foul. Doncic made three. 
2:44   0  Clips missed three. Luka missed three
2:20  -3  Clips made three. Burke missed three
1:43  -2  Clips jump shot. Burke missed layup
1:15   0  Clips made three. Luka made three. 
Remaining 39 seconds dribbled out. 

Game ends on 25-10 run by the Clippers. 

Ten possessions --

Mavs have six missed threes, two made threes (Luka), a layup (DFS), and two free throws (LD). Three Mavs take shots — Luka (4), Burke (4), and DFS (2. KP not a factor. 

Clippers have two scores off offensive rebounds, four made threes, one floater, one 2pt jump shot, two free throws, and one missed three. They score on 9-10 possessions. 

Yikes. Mavs should take a page from the Clippers on how to close out a game. 


Analytics

The Mavs shot poorly (35% from deep, 56% on twos). The Clips were 45% on threes, 59% on twos. The scoring showed Mavs -28 on points from twos, +9 on points from threes, and +4 on made free throws. This largely reflects Dallas taking 17 more 3PTAs than the Clips and getting to the line for 5 more FTAs. 

Dallas gave up 9 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points, which hurt. LA pummeled the Mavs with 58 points in the paint (29/45), whereas our boys managed only 36 (18/30).

The Clips dominated with their inside game, while the Mavs missed 31 of their threes. 


Players

KP (38 min) — Porzingis was the Maverick of the game, imho. He led the scoring with 30 points on 9-19 shooting, had three treys, went 9-9 from the line, collected seven boards, and handed out five assists. Very complete game. He was impressive taking over when Luka was out. Unfortunately, when he came back in for the last five minutes, he appeared frozen out of the offense — I’m not sure whether he even touched the ball. 

Rick complimented the big man on his threes, passing, free throws, cuts, and defense, explaining that KP had given the Clips a lot of problems. Coach said that he had to take Porzee out for a break after his back-to-back threes in the fourth because the Latvian was tired. Then, when KP came back in, somehow he didn’t get back into his groove. Zinger said he is still only 75-80% back “into his rhythm” after not playing for so long.

How does it happen that one of the Mavs’ two stars is left out of the late-game offense? I miss the old Jet-Dirk two-man game. Remember how clutch they were?

DFS (37 min) — Doe-Doe had a pretty good line (12-8-3), and drew the primary defensive assignment on Kawhi, which is as tough as it gets. He was also switched onto Zubacs several times, and was not strong enough to prevent the big man from scoring over him. 

THJ (36 min) — I don’t know what it was with Hardaway, but he was relatively invisible again. He had 8 points on 3-9 shooting, and grabbed 3 rebounds. He pretty much brought nothing on defense. After the game, however, Kawhi noted that one of the reasons the Mavs are hard to beat is their floor-spacers, and named Timmy in particular. Tim did have a dramatic moment in the first quarter, when he was fouled in the corner and fell backward into the Mavs bench. He didn’t seem any the worse for wear, fortunately. 

Luka (35 min) — Luka was very good in the match. He put up 29 points (10/21 FGA), hit six threes, dropped six dimes, and limited himself to 4 turnovers. Rick thought it was Luka’s best game from a defensive point of view. If one were to nitpick the young star’s performance, it would be in the end game, I think. Although he was responsible for most of the points, the offense again devolved into the random jacking up of long shots without apparent purpose or plan. But, overall, definitely showing his chops, individually and as team leader. 

Burke (31 min) — Trey was the leading scorer off the bench with 11 points, and also contributed 4 boards and 4 assists. He started in the third quarter, in place of Boban, and closed the frame well with 5 consecutive points. He had a nifty drive to the rim in the first half, but was 5-15 overall. Rick trusted him to man the closing unit, but he was 0-6 in the fourth quarter. 

Maxi (27 min) — Kleber had 10 points off the bench, along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He also came in for some tough defensive duties. I would say it was his best bubble game, not that that is any kind of high praise. 

OthersJackson and Wright also played, but didn’t do a whole lot. Bobi had 2 points, 4 rebounds, and a block in his starting cameo. 

ClippersKawhi hammered the hapless Mavs, scoring 29 points, albeit on 23 shots. Paul George chipped in with 24. Rick thought the team should have done better on George. 

Those two star turns were expected. But center Ivica Zubacs pounded Dallas with 21 points and and 15 boards on 10-10 shooting. His scores were largely opportunistic, as he took advantage of chances created by the Clips’ screening and switching schemes. Other Mavs were engaged in: double-teaming the Clippers' stars, leaving Zubacs open; trying to defend the perimeter, leaving Zubacs open; or, having a smaller player switched on to Zubacs, with Zubacs scoring over him. Sigh. 

Marcus Morris threw in 16 points, and JaMychal Green had 10 off the bench. 


Remarks

Rick praised the team for battling, but admitted that the Clips “just went through us and jumped over us.” Kawhi said after the game that the Mavs were a very difficult team to beat (although he somehow made it look pretty easy at the end.) The FSSW studio crew commented on the familiar third-quarter woes, noted the Mavs’ lack of aggressiveness in getting to the free-throw line, thought the team settled for too many threes (48), and opined that the Mavs didn’t put up enough defensive resistance. 

It could have been worse. The Mavs made a game of it until the end, the contest was closer than the scoreline would make it seem, it was a reasonably entertaining affair, and our two stars showed out well(did you know they are the leading scoring duo in the bubble?).  Sometimes you just run into a better team. The match provided our guys with plenty of learning opportunities, and that’s worth something. 


Next. The Mavericks face Milwaukee on Saturday. The Bucks won’t have anything to play for, iirc, so we’ll see whether they choose to go all-in or not. Be there or be square!
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