Dallas Mavericks: Maximizing Wins

Kristaps Porzingis needs to make the most of his opportunities. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
December begins, and with the season starting to ramp up, teams prepare for the beginning of the more intense regular season post-Christmas.
vs Los Angeles Clippers (11/26)

The usually explosive Mavericks’ offensive was ultimately subdued by the Clippers’ powerhouse defense, being especially successful in their efforts to limit Luka’s scoring impact on the game. Doncic (22 pts, 8 rebs, 6 asts) was double-teamed for the duration of the game, and it showed in his results with a meager 4-14 shooting from the field. 8 of his 10 misses were from beyond the three-point arc, which basically tells the whole narrative of that side of the ball for Doncic, as he was suffocated at the perimeter by the Clippers all game long. Down low, Kristaps Porzingis (15 pts, 10 rebs) also struggled mightily from the offensive side, shooting 4-13 himself. Seth Curry (13 pts) and J.J. Barea (12 pts) both got some good bench output with some solid outside shooting. Other than that, the rest of the roster was part of the night’s scoring struggle.

With Luka subdued on one side, the Clippers pretty much cruised throughout.  They were led by the team’s superstar duo in Kawhi Leonard (28 pts, 8 rebs, 4 asts) and Paul George (26 pts), who have started to completely solidify the Clippers’ defensive identity now that they’re playing healthy together. Lou Williams (21 pts) also made some noise off the bench.

Dallas simply ran into a team that’s constructed to absolutely muffle a singular shining offensive presence like Luka. Also, unless Porzingis steps up when something like this gameplan affects Doncic to this degree, it’s KP’s responsibility to be opportunistic and cease a game like this while the defensive focus isn’t on him. Overall, while it was a romp that cut into their good looking win streak, it was an ample learning experience for a young team facing such a complete opponent.

FINAL: Los Angeles 114 (13-5), Dallas 99 (11-6)

@ Phoenix Suns (11/29)
It didn’t take long for the Mavericks to bounce back to form offensively, as when they traveled to Phoenix to play the Suns, Luka and company came out in full force. Doncic (42 pts, 9 rebs, 11 asts) ended up tying his career high, and Tim Hardaway Jr. (26 pts) scored in droves with 6 made three-pointers. While most of the team looked solid, Porzingis (2 pts, 13 rebs) struggled yet again, this time shooting an atrocious 0-8 from the field; his only points coming from a pair of free throws. While Doncic has been flourishing, Porzingis has been trudging through the growing pains of new team integration in this early part of the season.

FINAL: Dallas 120 (12-6), Phoenix 113 (8-10)
@ Los Angeles Lakers (12/1)
Sunday afternoon was yet another marquee matchup vs Los Angeles, but this time against the #1 team in the Western Conference in the Lakers. The Lakers came into this game riding high on a 10-game win streak, but in this contest it was the Mavericks who ended as the streak buzzkill instead of being on the receiving end.
For LA, LeBron James (25 pts, 9 rebs, 8 asts) showcased his dynamic all-around ability, continuing to show his competence as both a scorer and distributor in this new Anthony Davis-included system. Speaking of AD (27 pts, 10 rebs), Davis also performed as per usual. It was the struggles of their supporting cast that led them to falling behind and never quite keeping up in the second half.
Luka (27 pts, 9 rebs, 10 asts) was yet again a hair-short of completing another triple-double, a now commonplace feat for Doncic as he now either completes it or gets this close on a nightly basis. Delon Wright (17 pts, 9 asts) had a great game coming off the bench, and Justin Jackson (15 pts) followed suit. Porzingis (15 pts, 5-11 FG) also improved upon his alarming recent struggles. It was an overall big team win for Dallas to close out that rough patch of tough matchups.
FINAL: Dallas 114 (13-6), Los Angeles 100 (17-3)
Now back on track after the tough loss early in the week, things look good for the Mavericks as they still hold 4th place in the conference. As the holidays approach, the team will try to keep things chipper as they look to persist in the playoff conversation.
Upcoming Schedule
12/3 @ Pelicans              6:30pm CST
12/4 vs Timberwolves    7:30pm CST
12/7 vs Pelicans              1:00pm CST
12/8 vs Kings                  6:00pm CST