We should have known before the tip that the Pistons were going to take the L.
Before tonight's game in Mexico City, Luka Doncic addressed the crowd in Spanish.— ESPN (@espn) December 13, 2019
Blake Griffin tried his best to match him pic.twitter.com/eTqYvU3UhS
The Dallas Mavericks and the Detroit Pistons matched up in Mexico City Thursday night after a few days off, and it took mere minutes before fans were chanting M-V-P as Luka Doncic shot the ball.
Sometimes in neutral site games the offense can take a while to get going, and this game was no different — especially for the Mavericks, who looked like a college team shooting in a dome at the Final Four for the first time.
But once Seth Curry entered the game they got their feet under them. Curry was locked in from the moment he stepped on the floor, with 23 points (5/7 from three) in the first half alone. Luka matched Curry with 23 points and 10 rebounds at the break.
Andre Drummond had his way in the post, breaking the bones in the upper body of every Mavericks post player...namely Kristaps Porzingis and Dwight Powell. And that’s after almost being held out of the game due to a reaction to avocados. Yes, you’ve read that correctly.
The Mavericks feasted for long stretches in the second half.
But Dallas eventually let the Pistons back in the game. It took the bench settling in, and a return of Luka Doncic to regain a firm hold on the lead. The Mavericks grabbed the win with a final score of 122-111.
Curry finding his spot
It’s taken some time for Seth Curry to get settled this season. For those looking back to his previous stint in Dallas (me) it was easy to assume Curry would hit the ground running in Dallas. Whether it be as a starter or in a faux-Sixth Man role, Curry makes so much sense in this system that expectations may have gotten ahead of process.
Recently there have been flashes, and Curry may be filling that Jason Terry role perfectly. Tonight he kept the Mavericks in the game early, and finished the night with 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists (6/9 from three). The last time Seth Curry had at least 23 points in a game? March 23, 2017 as a Maverick, against the Clippers. He still seems to be getting his footing, but long term there are promising signs.
Andre Drummond could basically do whatever he wanted, when he wanted. For whatever reason the Detroit Pistons went away from Drummond in the third quarter, looking to the outside shot to keep them in the game. But Drummond had no issues grabbings boards and scoring in the post. He finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
The modern game doesn’t call for a heavy dose of banging around in the post. But when it has for the Mavericks this season, they have had some issues. The Mavericks can use Boban Marjanovic in short stints when they need muscle in the post. But Boban can only hold up so long. Most nights it won’t matter, but late in the season (and the playoffs) it could pose an issue defensively.
All Hail Luka
According to the Fox Sports Southwest broadcast, Luka Doncic is the first player with a triple-double in a Mexico City game. His stats are a nightly discussion, something that he recently remarked might be “too much stats”. Nevertheless, what he’s doing is jaw-dropping.
Doncic finished the night, amidst more M-V-P chants from the Mexico City crowd, with 41 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists; his second 40-point triple double of his career. Doncic makes the game look easy, and this roster has been built around his game. Credit the whole roster for complimenting each other, and knowing the role they have on this team. But for Mavericks fans, it’s hard not to feel like this is a dream.
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.