The Dallas Mavericks fell in awful fashion to the Toronto Raptors Sunday afternoon, losing 110-107. After having a 30 point lead, the Mavericks collapsed and couldn’t hold on late, despite a lead. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 32 points, including 20 in the fourth. Jalen Brunson was the high point man for Dallas with 21.
Both Dallas and Toronto seemed unready to play to start the game and the Mavericks initially paid the most for it. Yet, despite turnover the ball over a whopping seven times in the quarter while also shooting a horrendous 17% from the floor, Dallas trailed just 17-20 after twelve minutes of play. A late 11-2 push from the bench unit woke the Mavericks to close the gap heading into the second quarter.
The shooting improved for Dallas and got worse for Toronto in the second. Both teams took care of the ball more as well, which resulted in a better flow to the game. Dallas hung with Toronto early in the quarter and eventually caught fire with around four minutes in the quarter on a 10-0 run. Their lead grew to as many as nine, which is the lead they took into the half following a final second bomb of a three from Kristaps Porzingis close to haf court. Dallas led 51-42 at the break.
Dallas kept the offensive pressure on in the third, connecting from three repeatedly and capitalizing on a stagnant Raptor team. The Maverick lead steadily grew from nine to start the quarter to 30 at one point. The Raptors tried to make some noise late but managed to close the frame down seven. The Mavericks led 86-63 after three periods.
Because these are our Dallas Mavericks, no lead is truly safe. The Mavericks got astoundingly passive and Jalen Brunson once again forgot how to play basketball, the Raptors rallied all the way back within the first six minutes of the half. Mainly, Dallas couldn’t (or really wouldn’t) figure out how break a simple press on in bounds plays. That, paired with some hot shooting and Toronto managed to tie the game with just under six minutes in the game. The Raptors got ahead, then Dallas got insanely tight and couldn’t find the basket. The Mavericks actually got ahead by one late but stopped playing defense and gave up a dunk. Then they screwed up the final possession and missed a late clock jumper. Dallas falls 110-107 to Toronto
And now, some additional thoughts:
The defensive scheme makes no sense
It’s got to be said that the Mavericks played not to lose that fourth quarter. But when the game tightens up to a tie with five minutes remaining, there is plenty of time to do SOMETHING different, and Dallas ultimately did not. Unless I’m woefully mistaken, Dallas opted to go under on screens and did not commit to doubling Kyle Lowry. The guy had 20 points! He shot 70% from the field. Including some lay ups which he bulled all the way to the rim. That’s inexcusable.
That’s on coaching and it’s the ultimate mistake which cost Dallas in the end. Get the ball out of the hot player’s hands. It might be hard to actually do but it but watching that quarter the Mavericks never tried past some fake blitzes.
What is happening with Jalen Brunson and fourth quarters
I don’t want to pick on the guy too much. Basketball is a team game. But he’s had a number of really bad fourth quarters during this stretch and it’s very confusing. Between him letting traps come to him to start the fourth quarter, his tentative running of the offense, terrible pass placement, and his decision to pick up his dribble on the final play, he’s looked bad. He’s not why Dallas lost, but in that quarter, his decision making as lead guard was not an asset.
This is a terrible loss and the Mavericks should be embarrassed
Look, I’m tired and don’t feel good. I had my recap written and since I’m not a journalist really, I feel okay making this fan statement: that sucked and the Mavericks as team should feel awful. Now they have three days to think about things and come out better as a result of that tremendously bad loss.
Every team has them, I get it, but now we don’t have Dallas basketball until after Christmas and that stinks.
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.