Dallas Mavericks: Continue to Improve

Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi
It’s the holiday season, and the Dallas Mavericks are beginning the month of December on a roll. Currently on a 7-game win streak, the Mavs look to ride ROTY frontrunner Luka Dončić’s constant rise to stardom with some home cooking against tough conference foes.
vs Portland Trail Blazers (12/4)
Dallas hosted a very talented Trail Blazers team who look to hold their spot in the Western  Conference playoff picture going into the season’s long stretch. However, it was the Mavs whose starters carried the load in a convincing win. Dallas’ entire starting 5 scored in double digits, led by Luka’s 21 points. They managed to hold off a surging Damian Lillard, who went on a tear for the Blazers with 33 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. The win becomes the Mavericks’ eighth straight home victory. This streak is proving the home field advantage fans missed the past few seasons is back in a big way.
FINAL: Dallas 111 (12-10), Portland 102 (13-11)
@ New Orleans Pelicans (12/5)
The Mavs traveled to The Big Easy to face the Pelicans, who currently look like a fringe playoff team but is looking to improve overall behind star Anthony Davis. Davis is having quite the season so far, and this night was no different. He notched 27 points and dished it around for an impressive 9 assists. His paint dominance was actually a tandem, alongside Julius Randle, who had 27 points of his own alongside a strongman’s 18 rebounds. Randle has looked solid in his first feature role since leaving the Lakers. The two absolutely dominated DeAndre Jordan and had him in a stupor, where he only got 2 points and 8 rebounds in his 24 minutes. Dallas offensively was led by Barnes’ 16 points, showing clearly that the Mavs struggled for most of the night in this 26-point rout.
FINAL: New Orleans 132 (13-13), Dallas 106 (12-11)
vs Houston Rockets (12/8)
On Saturday night, on what could very well be considered “The Luka Dončić Game”, Luka absolutely lit it up in clutch time to help heave the Mavericks over the stumbling Rockets. Despite Houston’s stars in Harden (35 pts) and CP3 (23 pts) going off offensively, with both throwing around the rock and keeping the Rockets in it. However, the team couldn’t stop Luka’s late game heroics. 
It wasn’t until that time late in the game that Dončić that was able to get much going from the field. He was at an abysmal 3-13 shooting for 10 points before going on his surge. But when the time came, Luka delivered. 
With a little over 2 minutes remaining, down 102-94, Dončić started the show with a catch and shoot baseline three-pointer. 
30 seconds later, he’s making a stepback three from the top of the key over the towering Clint Capela. 
2-point game from there, 17 seconds later, off a pick and roll with DeAndre, Luka drives and scores again, tie ball game.
On the other side of the floor, some lockdown D from the Mavs’ other 2018 Draft selection, Jalen Brunson, forces a Harden air ball. Luka on the other side of the floor, gets a key pick and roll from DeAndre that forces Mike Jones off Luka, and up comes Capela once again. Being a bigger guy that belongs in the paint, Luka has the exact same plan as last time. The stepback this time had Capela’s ankles going up, down, and all around giving Dončić  the open bomb. Sinker. 
A great pass from DeAndre to Brunson on a baseline backdoor seals the win for the Mavericks, marking their ninth straight home win behind Luka’s 11-0 run. With currently the best record in the state, Dallas for now is looking like the best team in Texas once again.
FINAL: Dallas 107 (13-11), Houston 104 (11-14)
With an impressive home winning streak that’s still active under their belts, the Mavs have a lot to be happy about going into Christmas time. With a record over .500 and the team looking like they’re clearly finding a formidable identity, the league better start to watch out for this fiery squad of young go-getters.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
12/10 vs Magic   7:30 p.m.
12/12 vs Hawks   7:30 p.m.
12/13  @ Suns    9:30 p.m.
12/16 vs Kings   6:00 p.m.