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Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - mavsluvr - 01-14-2021

COVID-STRICKEN MAVERICKS ROLL PAST CHARLOTTE
KP-LUKA TANDEM MAKES SEASON DEBUT

The Mavs had five rotation players out for this game, and you would never have known it. The next men stepped up, and the team put away the Hornets with a wire-to-wire victory. KP made his return, and looked great in the effort. 


NOTABLE ITEMS

Roster. Brunson, Finney-Smith, Richardson, Maxi, and Powell were all out pursuant to the NBA health and safety protocols. It has been reported that four of them have tested positive. With so many important guys out, and Porzee back, Rick broke out another starting lineup — Luka, Burke, Iwundu, KP, and Willie. 

Game Flow. The game was really won in the first quarter, as the Mavs were +16 in that period, compared to +1, -2, and -4 in the ensuing periods. Charlotte made a little run in the third quarter, but not enough to seriously threaten. There was a long scoring drought from both teams in the fourth. I was a little surprised that Carlisle kept the main guys out there until almost the end, with the game out of reach, but I imagine he had his reasons. 

Numbers. The Mavs’ overall shooting wasn’t great (42/33/56), but it was better than Charlotte’s horrid performance (38/26/50). Dallas had a good defensive performance, and put a whopping 12 blocks on the board. On a dicier front, they survived missing 7 free throws. High scorers for Dallas were Luka with 34 points, Tim 18, and KP 16.

Doncic. Luka was sensational, as he showed off every aspect of his considerable range of skills, and even showed some defensive force. His stat line was spectacular — 34 points, 5-9 threes, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals, to go along with a career-high 4 blocks. Coach’s reaction? The stats didn’t do Luka justice — where are the numbers to illustrate his poise and leadership? 

Of those 34 points, only 1 came at the line, with the refs awarding him only two free throw attempts in the entire game. He and Caleb Martin were involved in some sort of tiff at one point, but the Hornet came away with the technical. Asked about his defensive improvements, Luka indicated that he is trying to set a tone defensively as part of his leadership responsibilities. Just a very complete game and outstanding night for the young superstar! One of his more entertaining plays was a pull-up three, after which he stole the ball and ran the floor for a lay-in, only to be razzed by the bench for not dunking, lol.  

Porzingis. KP looked good on his return, putting up 16 points (including 4 threes), and adding 4 rebounds and 2 blocks to his line. He had a good mix of inside and outside scoring, and was quite a factor on defense. How great is it to have a rim protector on the court! He was 6-16 from the floor, and he admitted to forcing it a little later in the game, knowing that he was going to get limited minutes. Understandable. Carlisle said before the game that Porzee had a range of minutes available, and that he would avoid playing him in long stretches. He managed to do a fair amount of damage in his 21 minutes, and Rick thought he played exceptionally well, considering the circumstances. One of my favorite sequences was his two consecutive threes from the corner, with a big grin after each.

Cauley-Stein. Willie had 30 minutes on the court, and was a poster child for the proposition that a player can have a great impact without scoring. He took only two shots all night, but they were both entertaining jams on passes from Green and Luka. Perhaps more importantly, he had a game-high 14 boards, which was his highest number in his Mavs career, along with 3 blocks. One of those was a dramatic chase-down block, preventing a transition bucket from Rozier. He pursued loose balls with a vengeance. 

Rick commented after the game that Willie has earned his minutes and his starting oppotunity. He noted that Trill makes the team better defensively, observing that with his long stride and light feet, he can chase opponents down and cover a lot of ground. Coach praised the big man for giving the team energy, and says that Willie has really come on this season.

Green. Josh played for 18 minutes, and showed great improvement in assertiveness and decisiveness. He had some pretty plays, including a couple of dunks, running the floor and getting to the line, lobbing one up to Willie, and flying in for rebounds. Rick noted that Josh was part of the teams’s scoring spurts, and liked his contribution. 

Honorable mentions. Tim played the second most minutes after Luka (33), and put 18 points on the board. He made a couple of very good drives to the basket, and also had two steals. Burke had a bench-high 32 minutes. He had a poor shooting night (2-12), but the Mavs were +13 when he was on the floor. Iwundu played starter minutes (26), and had a rough night offensively, but Rick described his defensive contribution as “quietly terrific.” Johnson had 26 minutes off the bench, and had several nice plays. He cut from the corner to score a reverse layup off a find from Luka, hit a three from the corner, and had an offensive rebound and dunk in a short stretch in the second quarter. Bobi had 8 points and 5 boards in 15 minutes. He said he likes playing with Luka, because all you have to do is set a screen for him and you’re open, lol. 

Hornets. This team whooped up on the Mavs in their previous meeting, but they didn’t have it in this one. I didn’t think they looked good at all. I’m sure our defense was responsible for at least part of that, but they seemed out of sync, especially defensively. Their high scorers were Rozier 18, Hayward and Washington 16, and Graham 12. Hayward had to leave the game in the third quarter with a hip strain — hope he will be okay. 


OBSERVATIONS

Rick considered this one of the team’s better games, particularly with respect to concentration and defense. Although the match got “hairy” at times, he was proud of the guys for keeping their poise and fighting through it. He further observed that everyone showed up ready, despite having no practice time, and that the squad is making strides on the defensive end. 

Although the opponent was not particularly fierce in this one, I have to say I think it was a pretty remarkable performance, considering that five key guys were missing. It’s good to see the Mavs fight through adversity like this, and, of course, it was wonderful to welcome Porzingis back. I think maybe the most amazing thing for me was that I actually didn't even think about the fact that they were so shorthanded during the game.

This was Carlisle's 800th victory as a coach. Congrats, Rick!

With this triumph, our boys are on a four-game winning streak, Mavs fans! Their next challenge will be Milwaukee. Onward and upward!


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - Jason Terry - 01-14-2021

Luka being a positive defensively instead of a negative(last season) when expectations were he could be neutral at best.......it’s huge. To have him buy in speaks to his maturity and gives us an actual chance at being the best defensive team in the league. Maybe not Lakers level yet but promising signs for the near future

Did it even feel like we were missing 5 starter level players? Everyone is playing together

Josh Green has been grinding all year and finally took off. Showed off his athleticism and hustle. Seems like a good fit


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - KillerLeft - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 01:38 AM)Jason Terry Wrote: Luka being a positive defensively instead of a negative(last season) when expectations were he could be neutral at best.......it’s huge. To have him buy in speaks to his maturity and gives us an actual chance at being the best defensive team in the league. Maybe not Lakers level yet but promising signs for the near future


I think this is such a huge, huge development. It could potentially mean everything. 

I'm not intending this as a retroactive bashing of Dirk (wouldn't expect to get out of here alive if I did) but the Nash/Dirk Mavs were SO difficult to build around, imo, specifically because they were both mediocre defenders at best. This made the synergy fit target ridiculously hard to hit when acquiring talent, and while it got a little easier on that end once Nash left, it ultimately took the PERFECT front court partners (Marion and the GREAT Tyson Chandler) to get the team across the finish line. 

When your BEST players are two-way players, as it seems Luka and KP are, building the roster around them seems significantly more simple. If they're defensive studs, like Leonard/George or James/Davis, it's even easier - too easy, maybe. But, I think the Mavs are in a good position just not having to hide Luka/Porzingis on that end. I think this will open the window earlier and keep it open longer. Exciting.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - omahen - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 12:07 AM)mavsluvr Wrote: Rick broke out another starting lineup — Luka, Burke, Iwundu, KP, and Willie.


Thanks for the recap great as always. It was reported Burke will start but it was actually THJ who started. Burke came of the bench.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - BolsDamols - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 12:07 AM)mavsluvr Wrote: Green. Josh played for 18 minutes, and showed great improvement in assertiveness and decisiveness. He had some pretty plays, including a couple of dunks, running the floor and getting to the line, lobbing one up to Willie, and flying in for rebounds. Rick noted that Josh was part of the teams’s scoring spurts, and liked his contribution. 


I wish they were dunks, Im pretty sure those were 2 lay ups  Smile


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - meistermatze - 01-14-2021

A few observations from me:

- I thought we, again (like against Orlando), made a team with a positive record look really bad. Could mean the opponent has been overachieving so far or it means we really are good.
- KP being back showed, how much easier it makes for us on defense. With his spacing ability, defenses can't just solely focus on locking down Luka and clogging the lane. I was surprised at how good he looked, I hope he fully gets his rhythm back quickly. It is still simple as this: If KP can stay healthy, we are a contender because I see these Mavericks as a functional two-way team with a legit superstar and his Robin on the roster.
- I really like the big lineup and I hope coach will come around to instal something like it permanently. I think WCS and Porzingis works fine together, Maxi and Powell can play against backup-units because they complement each other as well.
- I don't know what's up qith Luka not going to the line, he still looks aggressiv. I guess we don't need to care as long as we keep winning.
- It will be interesting to see how sustainable Timmy's shooting is. If he keeps his curretn pace of about 18 points on 43% on triples, he's a legit third option or a legit 6th man candidate. I think even if he cooles down a little, JRich and him combined will give you a decent third and fourth option on offense.
- I like that the rest of our role-players all seem to be plus defenders so this is a really nice mix. I am really excited.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - aguiar95 - 01-14-2021

Watching the highlights, one thing that I noticed was how great Josh Green sets the screen. Luka got like 10 points off his screens.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - DanSchwartzman - 01-14-2021

Much of the attention last night went to the KP/WCS combo which was +5 when they were on the floor.  The combo that really worked (albeit against mainly subs) was Boban/Johnson at +12.

I don't see anyone arguing for KP/DFS as the starting C/PF anymore.  The entire offseason 3/4ths of the board would shoot down any deal that involved adding a big (it wasn't just Gobert).  One of my arguments in favor of starting two legitimate bigs is we have too many of them.  We could have kept Ariza, but paid to swap him for PF Johnson.  We attempted to sign Gasol and instead retained WCS.  It will be nearly impossible to get minutes for KP/WCS/Powell/Maxi and Johnson (let alone Boban) if DFS gets any meaningful minutes at PF.  I for one am glad and have said all along that KP/DFS should be a gimmick lineup (if used at all).

It was pretty cool to see smaller players get by either KP or WCS and have the other waiting for them at the rim.  With that said, I'm not sure we are any closer to knowing what Carlisle will ultimately do.  We have an embarrassment of riches and the only combo that probably doesn't work is WCS/Powell.  When rotations tighten up in the playoffs, I suspect we will have five guys (Luka, Brunson, THJ, DFS and JRich) getting almost all of the 1, 2 and 3 minutes.  We have five other guys who have a legitimate claim on the 4/5 minutes.  We always needed some margin with KP's always uncertain health and Powell's uncertain recovery.  But managing minutes for the five bigs (not to mention Boban) is going to be interesting.

This is what you get with Burke.  We saw the same in the bubble.  30 one night and 1/10 (or 2/12) the next.  I hope Brunson doesn't have to share too many of his minutes with Burke and Burke is used more like Boban is (or JJB was last season) mainly because...

I want to see Josh Green get a steady role.  Skinny Luka and returned KP so dramatically change things offensively.  Suddenly there is space to operate and Green looked dramatically different.  I realize we all have our pets among Terry, Hinton and Bey.  But two-way contracts are lottery tickets.  For  years the team has rotated new guys through here using late seconds and two-ways hoping to find the next DFS.  Sometimes they figure out they don't need them and give them away (Roby, Motley).  Sometimes they don't stick in the league at all.  Those guys are on a completely different plane than Terry (3 guaranteed years using part of the MLE) and first rounder Green.  We are super deep with arguably 12 guys who should be getting rotation minutes.  It is pretty clear from the way Carlisle is finding minutes for him that Green is far and away the developmental priority from among the kids.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - ClutchDirk - 01-14-2021

https://media.giphy.com/media/l0HlNOtch2D0XOXxS/giphy.gif


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - Hypermav - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 08:08 AM)DanSchwartzman Wrote: Carlisle is finding minutes for him that Green is far and away the developmental priority from among the kids.
Agree.


It is wild to think that group of kids are Luka's age group peers. Bey 22, Hinton 21, Luka 21, Green 20 and Terry 20.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - HanspardsShowerVoice - 01-14-2021

Quote:This is what you get with Burke.  We saw the same in the bubble.  30 one night and 1/10 (or 2/12) the next.  I hope Brunson doesn't have to share too many of his minutes with Burke and Burke is used more like Boban is (or JJB was last season) mainly because...

Completely agree.  And the market put Burke and Boban in the same category at ~3 million/year players.    Getting a better playmaker who can score off the dribble is the obvious  upgrade for this team, particularly one who can play in your crunchtime 5 in the playoffs. Playoff defenses will shut down the Mavs if it's just 4 guys standing around while Luka dribbles the air out of the ball, just like they shut down the Harden Rockets in the playoffs.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - KillerLeft - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 04:01 AM)BolsDamols Wrote: I wish they were dunks, Im pretty sure those were 2 lay ups  Smile


Yes, my observation has been that for all of his athletic ability, Green seems reluctant or unable to finish plays aggressively in the paint, even when there's no defense challenging him. I don't like that, so far.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - omahen - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 08:08 AM)DanSchwartzman Wrote: I don't see anyone arguing for KP/DFS as the starting C/PF anymore.


I am all for it and I think it will be either him or Kleber at "PF"


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - omahen - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 08:08 AM)DanSchwartzman Wrote: But managing minutes for the five bigs (not to mention Boban) is going to be interesting.

Mavs are "too deep". They should trade a couple of rotation pieces for a starter. As you do I would also like to see development minutes for at least two rookies and I think they can afford to do it.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - KillerLeft - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 11:13 AM)omahen Wrote: I am all for it and I think it will be either him or Kleber at "PF"

Yeah, it all depends on what you mean when you say "big."

I think WCS/KP looked pretty good last night, but it was against Charlotte. I don't feel like it's going to work against very many teams, and don't anticipate that being the closing lineup very frequently when the entire team is available. 

I can see how DFS might not be ideal, but I think it's worth a shot. I think one of Kleber, Powell or Johnson might be the best choice. The only reason I don't just flat out say Kleber is that I LOVE his fit with WCS and thing his shooting is a valuable thing to have as a 3rd big (first off the bench). He's just so versatile. But, if the choice of starting/closing pairing with KP is between Kleber and WCS, give me Kleber for sure. 


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - mavsluvr - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 01:38 AM)Jason Terry Wrote: Luka being a positive defensively instead of a negative(last season) when expectations were he could be neutral at best.......it’s huge. To have him buy in speaks to his maturity and gives us an actual chance at being the best defensive team in the league.
Just enormous, if he can do it consistently. 


Questions were asked about how Luka was sold on developing this aspect of his game. Devin Harris said it was a matter of pride -- Luka didn't want to be considered the weak link, having to be hidden on the defensive end of the floor. Rick said Luka didn't really have to be sold, but that he has come to understand that it is part of his leadership responsibility to set the tone. Luka sounded like he has bought into that.

However it happened, kudos to all involved for the evolving transformation.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - Tyler - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 08:08 AM)DanSchwartzman Wrote: I want to see Josh Green get a steady role.  Skinny Luka and returned KP so dramatically change things offensively.  Suddenly there is space to operate and Green looked dramatically different.


Agreed.

I noticed several times last night that Green looked a little confused about where to be in the offensive set and people were pointing him in the right direction. So I suspect he's still working with a learning curve and earning minutes with defense, which I'm sure Carlisle is perfectly happy with. But he did start to flash some of his offensive potential with back-to-back alley-oops on the break -- one where he finished and one where he made the pass. I look forward to when he gets comfortable enough in the offense to take advantage of the spacing by applying his ability to attack the rim in the half court.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - Luka_Magic - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 11:18 AM)omahen Wrote: Mavs are "too deep". They should trade a couple of rotation pieces for a starter. As you do I would also like to see development minutes for at least two rookies and I think they can afford to do it.

If there's any season a team might want to err on the side of depth its this one imo.

Also, great write up as always @mavsluvr


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - Jason Terry - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 11:18 AM)omahen Wrote: Mavs are "too deep". They should trade a couple of rotation pieces for a starter. As you do I would also like to see development minutes for at least two rookies and I think they can afford to do it.

Green is getting minutes and should continue to since he’s so versatile. I don’t think any amount of minutes will turn Terry into a useful player this season. He probably should’ve stayed in school another year. Last night he couldn’t even inbound the ball multiple times. I like the kid and think he’s just fine sitting on the bench  watching. He seems like a Roby where he might be an NBA role player 4 years from now.


RE: Mavs 104, Hornets 93 - mavsluvr - 01-14-2021

(01-14-2021, 01:48 AM)KillerLeft Wrote: When your BEST players are two-way players, as it seems Luka and KP are, building the roster around them seems significantly more simple.
An excellent point. The potential ramifications are mind-bogglingly far-reaching.