It was a game that the Mavericks controlled from wire to wire, but never seemed to truly stake in Cleveland’s heart. A young Cavaliers team refused to let the game get fully out of control while riding the coattails of Kevin Love’s fantastic night shooting. The Cleveland big man had 29 points, powered by a 5/11 night from the 3-point line.
Both teams put on superlative offensive performances. Dallas shot 53% from the floor and 48% from three, while Cleveland seemed to have an answer for everything Dallas threw at them, at least through three quarters. The Cavaliers ran out of steam in the fourth and the Mavericks pulled away to cruise to a 131-111 win
For the Mavericks, the story was, once again, Luka Doncic who secured a back-to-back triple double by the third quarter. He finished the game with a line of 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 15 assists.
Dallas is 3-0 on the road
It’s their best open on the road since 2011 and a sight for sore eyes for fans who watched the team struggle mightily on the road in the 2018-19 season. That campaign that saw the Mavericks go 9-32 away from Dallas and it was an obvious spot in need of improvement for any team with playoff hopes. Though none of these Mavericks games have been perfect, as far as the win/loss column is concerned, it’s been smooth sailing on the road. This is the best the Mavericks have started on the road since the 2010-11 season.
The much anticipated Luka/KP tandem is a work in progress
Anyone high on the Mavericks before the season started would often point to the Luka and Porzingis pairing as the main reason for optimism. So far this season, both players have had exciting moments and their fair share of bright spots, but when it comes to how they’re playing together, there’s more work to be done.
Straight out of the gate against Cleveland, it looked as if the Luka to Porzingis connection would be a point of emphasis, but fumbled passes and team fouls away from the ball put the kibosh on any hopes we would see the duo really gel Sunday night.
As they have in other games, the two stars still found ways to get theirs and fill up the box score (Porzingis finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks), but there’s a definite feeling that we’ve not yet even approached what those two can do together.
To have expectations for Doncic is to see him surpass them
What else is there to say about the 20-year-old phenom? In front of a Cleveland crowd filled with fellow Slovenians, Luka once again had an absolutely monster game. It can seem passe, even at this point in his young career, to point out just how dominant he is.
After a rookie season that put the league on watch, a big piece of the puzzle for Dallas to pave a way back to the postseason was to have Doncic take the so-called “next step.” Well, we’re now 7 games in to the season, Luka has posted three triple doubles, and has looked completely in control nearly throughout the season.
Before the season started, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle made it a point to say that Doncic would be the full-time point guard. It was something that wasn’t necessarily true before the start of his rookie season that saw him looking to share the back court with former Maverick Dennis Smith Jr.
Rick Carlisle on Luka Doncic: “He’s the point guard. ... He’s unusual. He’s a very unique point guard. We haven’t seen a guy exactly like him ever in the NBA.”— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 30, 2019
Well, so far so good for the “everything runs through Luka” Mavericks.
The never Maverick game is Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.