If I told you prior to the match that Luka Doncic wouldn’t play and neither team would score 90 points odds are you’d feel pretty confident in a Thunder victory. Despite that being the case it was the Mavericks who battled to gain the 87-78 victory.
Although the Mavericks were missing their All-Star Doncic due to lower back tightness the beta to his alpha (Kristaps Porzingis) jumped at the chance to lead his squad.
To be clear – this was an ugly game. Neither team found their rhythm early and both shot abysmally on the night.
The Mavericks shot 38.6 from the floor and 8 of 40 from deep (20%). Dallas kept shooting those long balls and in truth, the brief run in the third was all it took to shift the tide of an extremely low-scoring game.
Seven of the Mavericks successful 3-pointers occurred between 5:59 of the third quarter and 7:42 of the fourth quarter which allowed Dallas to build a double-digit lead in spite of the low scoring affair.
The Mavericks recently got eight days off due to the severe weather and that time is paying dividends for Dallas particularly on the defensive side of the court (as we noted in the 3 keys preview).
Since the Mavs returned from that break (and including tonight’s match) they’ve improved from 26th overall to second in the NBA.
With that, let’s dive into the player grades…