Dallas came out hot tonight, stumbled in the second quarter, and eventually pulled away and closed the game out down the fourth quarter stretch.
Cleveland dominated the paint for much of the night, but it couldn’t keep up with the three-point onslaught from seemingly all members of the Mavericks. Cleveland was led by 19 points from Jordan Clarkson, while Luka Doncic led the Mavericks, and all scorers, with 35 points, alongside 11 boards and 6 asissts.
Luka Doncic can carry an offense
Luke came out absolutely on fire tonight, lighting up the Cavaliers for 18 first quarter points on 4/5 from beyond the arc. He poured in 10 more in the second quarter, closing out the half strong to give the Mavericks a small halftime lead after a very rough second-quarter stretch with him on the bench. Post-trade, pre-new Mavs joining, one thing I for certain: this team will succeed or fail on the back of Luka Doncic for many years to come.
Three pointers were key to the victory for Dallas, especially with Harrison Barnes’ fourth-quarter
Dallas was 16/39 from the three-point land tonight, and Harrison Barnes knocked down 3 of them as he came alive in the fourth quarter to help close out the Cavaliers and put away a Mavericks victory down the stretch. Cleveland, meanwhile, was only 4/23. With the addition of Luka Doncic this season, Barnes has jumped his three-point attempt rate from the high twenties to over 40% of his shots. Dallas will be at its best when Harrison Barnes figures out how to tap into his glimpses of tenacious defense at all times and knock down the open catch and shoot attempts he constantly gets from Luka and the pick and roll action in the middle of the floor.
Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber could get paid this summer
While neither player is an all-star, both are the kind of players you need as a 5th starter or early bench-player on a championship-level team. They hustle. They play defense. They rebound on both ends of the floor. They move the ball. They finish around the rim. They pull the trigger on open catch-and shoot three pointers, hitting often enough to demand close-outs. Be on the lookout this summer for some interesting offer sheets.
Be on the lookout for Mavs Moneyball’s preview as Dallas returns home to take on the Charlotte Hornets this coming Wednesday. In their first home game with post-trade teammates, we’ll likely get a look at Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Courtney Lee in Mavericks uniforms for the first time.