by mavsluvr at 01-10-2021, 12:59 AM
MAVS WIN BATTLE OF SHORT-HANDED TEAMS
HARDAWAY, BURKE ON FIRE
The Mavericks left three players in Denver, got in at five o’clock, and could not conduct a shoot around for protocol reasons. But that didn’t stop them from rolling past the Magic, behind flame-throwing performances from the Wolverines.
Orlando had a decimated roster, with Aminu, Carter-Williams, Fultz, Isaac and Okeke all out with injuries. Dallas was short-staffed itself, with KP still out and DFS, Richardson and Brunson in virus protocols.
We got a look at a new starting lineup, featuring Luka, Josh Green, Hardaway, Maxi, and Willie.
The Mavs went down 6 in the first few minutes, but came back strong, and finished the first quarter leading 36-27. Dallas lost the second quarter by 3, and went into halftime ahead 56-50.
Our team endured a flat stretch when they came out in the third, with the ball sticking and the Mavs not playing hard enough, per Rick. Halfway through the period, the Dallas 6-point lead had turned into a 6-point deficit, with the Mavs’ having scored only 3 points. At 5:35, the bench came in and flipped the script. The squad went on a 24-10 run to close the frame, and went into the fourth up 85-75. Hardaway went white-hot, and scored 16 of the team’s 29 points, 15 in the last six minutes, and 10 in a row to end the team’s scoring drought. After an especially dramatic long three from Tim, the camera caught Luka cheering from the bench, holding his arms in the air and grinning from ear to ear.
The Mavericks built as much as a 16-point margin in the fourth, and ended the game with a comfortable lead.
Numbers. There’s nothing like shotmaking to keep a team in a winning state of mind. The Mavs actually lost the possession game, but were a blistering 20-40 from deep, compared to a dismal 6-3 by the Magic. If one were going to critique our boys’ game, you would have to look at turnovers (18 for 16 points). But 20 made threes covers a multitude of sins, so who’s carping? The defense was also on point, especially in the second half, with the Magic held below 100. Ball movement spurred the spectacular shooting, with 25 of the Mavs’ 39 made baskets assisted. High scorers were Tim 36, Burke 29, Luka 20, and Johnson 12.
Doncic. Luka had his second triple-double in three games, with 20 points, 11 boards, and 10 dimes. Rick said you practically expect triple-doubles from Luka now, and that he was impressed with his PG’s tone-setting. When Luka was told after the game that Coach had praised his especial focus and concentration, he wrinkled his brow, gave an incredulous laugh, and allowed that he is focused and concentrated in every game, not just this one, lol.
Hardaway. What a night for Tim! He had a career-high scoring night for the second game in a week, putting up 36 points, including 8-13 threes. He had a nice mix of scoring in his team-high 40 minutes, and Rick complimented him for his rim attacks and finishes, as well as his jump shots. When McMahon referred to Tim as a “make-or-miss” player, Rick bristled, and said there was no “make or miss” about it, Tim is going to be out there, whether he’s hitting his shots or not. He elaborated, describing Tim as a great team player, a guy who gives the rest of the team energy, moves the ball, helps with team defense, and is a leader in the huddle. Really good to see a fine scoring night from Timmy, especially on a night when the team was shorthanded.
Iwundu. Wes had 32 minutes off the bench against his former team, and came close to shutting down Terrence Ross. Rick described him as “tremendous” off the bench, regardless of his not scoring. Playing against your old team is always special, and it was great to watch Wes so effective in season-high minutes.
Burke. Trey took on backup PG duties, and performed well, but did his main damage putting the ball in the basket. He was a flying ball of fire, pouring in 29 points in 21 minutes on 11-13 shooting, including 7-8 threes, and earning a team-high plus-minus of +25. Rich commended him as a “weapon,” a great shotmaker who is helping make up for the loss of Seth. A dazzling night, for sure!
Johnson. James had a productive evening, with a nice balance of points, rebounds, assists and steals. With only two point guards available, James performed some of the facilitating. One of my favorites was a Tinker to Evers to Chance type play, with a Luka to Johnson to Burke sequence resulting in an open three and looking like it had all been planned in advance. A good opportunity to step up, and James took advantage.
Orlando. The Magic put up a good fight, especially considering the key players they were missing. The only one who really went off was Vucevic, who had 30 points and 15 rebounds. Dallas did a good job of containing Aaron Gordon (16) and Terrence Ross (11). Khem Birch also had 12 off the bench.
Rick was happy about a number of things in this game, particularly the attention to detail, hard play, and the lift the bench gave the team in the third. He also was pleased with his men performing so well with four key guys out and no practice time. He thought they were helped some by the Magic being on the second night of a B2B, but they had done well to take advantage.
This was the Night of the Guards, with Luka, Tim, and Burke combining for an astronomical 85 points. I was practically dizzy from watching the ball sailing around the court and into the basket. When your team is built to make threes, any given night can be hot or cold, but when those shots are falling, it’s very, very entertaining, and we were treated to a clinic tonight.
With this victory, the Mavs go to 5-4, rising above .500 for the first time this season. Three wins in a row!
New Orleans is next up. Go Mavs!