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3 things as the Dallas Mavericks obliterate the New Orleans Pelicans, 130-84

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That’ll be a good one for the point differential

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (16-6) walloped the New Orleans Pelicans (6-17) at home Saturday afternoon, pouring on the points and finishing 130-84. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 26 points and Boban Marjanovic grabbed 16 rebounds off the bench. J.J. Redick was the high point man for the Pelicans with 15.

Dallas opened the game with a quick 11-4 burst and appeared ready to run away with the game. But a sloppy set of possessions on both ends from Kristaps Porzingis (a bad face up jumper, fouled J.J. Redick on a three, poor drive which resulted in a Pelicans fast break lay in), allowed New Orleans to settle and work back into the game. Luka Doncic went to work in the middle of the quarter, with a step back three and multiple excellent assists. Once again it looked like the Mavericks might gain a double digit lead before a Luka lay up rimmed out and things went slightly cold for Dallas offensively. New Orleans closed the gap to end the frame and Dallas led 31-28 after one.

With Delon Wright exiting the game late in the first quarter with abductor strain, Jalen Brunson and Boban Marjanovic stepped up in a big way in the second period. After trading baskets with the Pelicans for the first few minutes of the period, Boban and Brunson led a 15-1 run which put Dallas firmly in the driver’s seat with a double digit lead. The Maverick starters re-entered the game and mostly held New Orleans at bay. Porzingis picked up a technical following a foul of Brandan Ingram with just over three minutes in the quarter and sat the final minutes on the bench. The Pelicans were unable to make a dent into the Dallas lead and the Mavericks led 64-52 at the half.

New Orleans came out flat and sloppy in the third quarter, which the Dallas Mavericks took full advantage of. Stellar offensive play from the entire starting group pushed the 12 point halftime lead to 25 by the halfway point of the frame. Bench players started to trickle in and the lead ballooned even further. Dallas held the Pelicans to single digits for most of the third, though the Pelicans did finally find the bottom of the net a few times in the final minutes. With the bench mostly cleared for the Mavericks, they took a 104-66 lead into the fourth.

With the benches cleared, the deep Maverick roster continued to pile it on New Orleans, with Dallas leading by as many as FIFTY points. The Mavericks beat New Orleans for the third time this season and walk away with a 130-84 victory.

Luka Doncic is playing 9th dimensional chess at this point

At the 8:30 mark in the third quarter, Luka Doncic ran a high pick and pop with Porzingis. After getting past the screen, Porzingis stays at the top of the key, keeping his man with him. Luka gets into the lane with Tim Hardaway Jr. relocating to the wing from the left corner and takes his man with him. Dorian Finney-Smith’s standing in the corner with his man near by. After screening just so for Hardaway, Dwight Powell cuts to the rim.

All this happens in a flash and yet the Pelicans do a very good job. Jrue Holiday stays with Doncic, J.J. Redick shows in the lane, cutting off direct access to the rim, and all the defenders stay home on shooters. So what does Luka do? He doesn’t force a rim attempt; instead he uses his deceleration ability, plants his left foot, spins back right, and takes a beautiful, balanced fadeaway that touches nothing but net. This is next level basketball. Few players in the entire world can process all this information in real time and make the right play. It’s a brilliant counter move that’s unguardable if the defense limits every other option. It’s remarkable how good Luka Doncic is. Here’s the play in full.

BOBAN!

In today’s roundtable about what I’m looking forward to, I mentioned being interested in which players would step up from the bench. Boban Marjanovich’s stellar play against the Pelicans is exactly the sort of thing I meant. He helped Dallas crack open a lead against New Orleans in the second quarter. When Dallas shelved the starters for the entire fourth, he gave the Mavericks important minutes as they have another game to play tomorrow night.

He finished with a season high in minutes with 23 while scoring 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Also just look at this man. He’s so wonderful.

The point differential is massive

Right after the buzzer sounded, Mark Followill noted that this is the first time in Maverick history that Dallas has three wins by 40+ points in a season. Considering its game 22, that’s pretty insane to me. That huge victory gives Dallas the second best point differential in the NBA with a margin of 10.3+. That’s a big deal big picture as truly good teams don’t play down to the level of their opponents. And the Dallas Mavericks may well be a very good team.

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.