The Dallas Mavericks ended their first road trip of the season, finishing off the Los Angeles Lakers, 103-93. With Dirk Nowitzki unable to feel his face, the Mavericks got ahead early and held on despite a variety of attempted rallies from the Lakers. The Mavericks head home happy and healthy, boasting a 2-1 record. Despite preseason prognostications of doom, this teams looks fun and ready to play exciting basketball for the foreseeable future.
These are the takeaways following the Maverick victory.
Dirk Nowitzki is really good at basketball. Still.
"You don't say, Kirk."
Look, Dirk is never going to be as young as he is right now. The NBA season is absurdly long, so Dirk is bound to have more than his share of bad nights. That's why it's important to revel in these nights where he looks like a German Cyborg sent back from the future to destroy basketball as we understand it.
Twenty-five points on 10 of 13 shooting, paired with 9 rebounds and one ridiculous assist is pretty awesome for a 37 year old with 18 years of experience under his belt. Last year, Dirk shot an uncharacteristically poor 42 percent on the road for reasons no one is able to explain, so it was great to see him hit all sorts of buckets against the Lakers. Compare that to the awful stat line of his fellow NBA Geriatric Kobe Bryant (15 points on 3 of 15 shooting) and we should all be very happy Dirk's looking great right now.
Chandler Parsons is alive!
There had been talk of Parsons getting minutes all weekend. It's been just over six months since Parsons had micro-fracture surgery on his knee, a procedure which has been a death sentence for more than one NBA superstar. Though he played just 12 minutes and all in the first half, there's plenty of reason to be hopeful moving forward.
Parsons shot just one of six from the field, but he got a variety of Lakers to bite on that hilarious pump fake. He drove with confidence and seemed to move pretty well on defense. However, he had absolutely no lift and that's something to watch as his minutes increase. At 6'9", Parsons never really relied on his athleticism to get to the cup. He could jump before his knee injury and he'll need to have some version of explosion if he's to be successful with his forays into the paint
We're three games into the season and Mavericks fans have been treated to minutes from both Parsons and Wesley Matthews, each of whom were expected to miss significant time. Their roads back won't be easy, but each player has now seen quality floor time. It's hard to describe just how important that is to the Dallas Mavericks season.
Julius Randle is the canary in the Maverick coal mine
Randle played part of a game last year before breaking his leg, so he's essentially a rookie. That rookie just demolished the Mavericks for 22 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, and one big time block. Dallas didn't have an answer for Randle and that's a problem.
Randle is just one player in a league filled with powerful, athletic and explosive power forwards. There's not a single player on the Mavericks roster capable of defending any one of Randle, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin, Draymond Green or Zach Randolph. It could get ugly for the Mavericks in spots this season unless Rick Carlisle figures out some way to contain these guys.
#RaymondFeltonContractYear is real.
Three games, three solid performances from a player considered to be an afterthought from the Tyson Chandler trade last summer. That he has become a part of the rotation is impressive enough, but Rick Carlisle has him closing out games on the road! That's pretty ridiculous. We'll see if the minutes stick, but right now, there's reason to rejoice.