A spectacular bounce back win
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors on the road Tuesday night, 133-103. Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 39 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. Steph Curry was the high point man for the Warriors with 27.
Things finally got off to a good start for Dallas, with a long developing play resulting in a Maxi Kleber three from Luka Doncic on a drive and kick. The Mavericks got up early before a Warriors timeout followed by a Steph Curry flurry gave the Warriors a 12-11 lead with 8:40 left. Then something strange happened: the Warriors lost the ability to play basketball. They would not score the remainder of the period, missing every single shot as the Mavericks went on a 25-0 run which really should’ve been more had Dallas players not missed a variety of makeable attempts. The Mavericks led after 12 minutes, 36-12.
The run for Dallas actually extended to 28-0 before the Warriors finally got a shot to fall. Though the Maverick offense faltered for a good chunk of the second quarter, Golden State was so bad offensively it didn’t matter. Trey Burke led the Mavericks defense in keeping a lid on Curry. Despite repeated missed shots for Dallas, the Warriors committed 12 first half turnovers. Doncic re-entered the game and helped push the lead up to 33. The Mavericks found themselves ahead 62-29 at the half.
Golden State came out firing in the third with Curry catching fire and scoring repeatedly. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Doncic was even better. He scored 23 in the quarter, in every way possible, to hold the Warriors at bay and turn back a strong attempt at a run. The Mavericks managed to extend the lead to 39 points, and took a 103-64 lead into the final frame.
The final quarter was a bench clearing affair with the Dallas rookies getting extended looks. No one did much to write home about, but Nicolo Melli got some shots to fall. It was mainly about getting everyone out healthy and the Mavericks eventually walked away with a 133-103 victory. The Mavericks play again Thursday night against the Detroit Pistons in Detroit.
Now, some thoughts…
Trey Burke, lockdown defender
The insertion of Burke into the starting line up raised a few eyebrows at Mavs Moneyball HQ, but considering he looked like an NBA player against the Kings, it seemed worth a shot. When we consider how rough Tim Hardaway Jr. had been as a starter (12-of-43 from the field over three games), what could it hurt?
Burke answered the call by being as close to a Curry stopper as the Mavericks have had. He was aided by Mavericks basically playing a “Box-and-one”, allowing Burke to do his best in just trying to stick with Curry, who is probably the best relocation shooter in the history of the NBA. And he did a great job which caused the entire Warriors offense to sputter for nearly 10 minutes of a NBA game. He hounded Steph and the Warriors for four steals and a block and finished with one of the more fun and strange stat lines you’ll see in an NBA game.
The Mavericks needed to win this one
There’s been a lot of social media chatter on whether or not the loss to the Kings last night was that big of deal, but considering the log jam in the Western Conference, it matters quite a lot to the big picture. The Mavericks have used up just about all their chances this season, blowing far too many winnable games against bad teams. It’s a simple and obvious statement, but this win is important for the confidence of Dallas.
Willie Cauley-Stein and finding a role
I’ve been particularly hard on Willie Cauley-Stein for over a season now in large part because he’s such an incredible athlete that hasn’t always seemed to know how to use his abilities to his advantage. In spurts this season, and these games since he returned from his extended absence due to health and safety protocols, he’s been very valuable in whichever role the Mavericks use him in. His touch around the rim’s been better and he’s finishing alley-oops and dunks after being pretty bad at them early in the season.
Near the trade deadline, Rick Carlisle made a point on a radio hit about how the team was happy with the big men they had. Most of us were pretty mad at that statement, but as this season’s worn on, each has shown their value in one way or another. It’s good to see Willie Cauley-Stein succeed.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.