What. Just. Happened.
The Mavericks have had big victories this season. The 118-68 win against the Utah Jazz in November and the 122-84 beatdown against the Charlotte Hornets in January come to mind. But this win, given the circumstances of the Mavericks season, was different and felt really, really good. After all, the Mavericks did stop a 12 game skid at Oracle Arena with the win.
Here what we observed in the Dallas victory:
The Mavericks owned the three-point line
Dallas put on a dominant offensive display from the opening tip. Dirk Nowitzki was hot early, leading the charge (more on that later), and the rest of the Mavericks followed suit pushing the team to their largest halftime lead of the season:
The Mavs lead the Warriors 74-46 at halftime. Not a typo. It's Dallas's largest halftime lead on the road since 12/21/04 (+39 at NYK). It's the Warriors' largest home halftime deficit since 11/23/05 (-30 vs. SAS). (Stats per @bball_ref)— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) March 24, 2019
The Mavericks dominance of the arc (Golden State was just 2-17 from deep in the first) propelled the first half surge and carried them through the rest of the way. Dallas was humming offensively in general, tallying 14 assists on 21 made field goals at one point late in the second quarter, but that’s generally what happens when shots were falling like they did.
For the game the Mavericks shot 21-49 from deep while the Warriors shot just 4-30. That 51-point discrepancy was one of the main reasons the Mavericks won the game like they did. Steph Curry sitting helps, and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will not combine to go 0-for-12 from deep for a long time. But the Mavericks did their job knocking down open shots, and the team cruised because of it.
Luka Doncic triple doubles in three quarters
Doncic has looked gassed during March while he’s battled injuries and seen teammates clank countless wide open looks. It appeared he might limp his way to the finish line even with an impressive body of work through the first five months of the season. However, tonight Doncic looked like his old self scoring 23 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing 10 assists in only three quarters of play giving him his sixth triple double of the season.
He, like Dirk, started out hot, putting up 11-7-5 in the first quarter alone. He connected on a few triples early and that set the tone for the rest of the game. While shooting 6-of-14 isn’t incredibly efficient, he shot 4-of-11 from three and a few of those were shots he threw up on broken plays. He also went 7-of-11 from the line, with the 11 free throw attempts being the takeaway.
Dirk turns back the clock
In his last game at Oracle Arena, the place that quite possibly still gives him nightmares, Nowitzki played his best game of the season to the tune of 21 points (season high) on 8-of-14 shooting (5-of-8 from three) and five rebounds. Dirk was sizzling early, connecting on his first four shots and scoring 10 points in the first quarter alone. It looked like the all-star game all over again, only this time it was against the defending champs in an actual NBA game.
While it’s just a blip on the radar in Dirk’s historic career, it’s always fun to keep etching his name in the history books as he did tonight with his 21-point barrage.
Dirk Nowitzki just became the eighth 40-year-old in NBA history to score 20 points in a game.— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) March 24, 2019
Sports don’t always have a storybook ending, but Dirk’s career at Oracle has come full circle. It’s the building he scored his first NBA point in. It’s the building his team had a historic playoff collapse in. And now, it’s the building he had a 20-point game in his fortieth year of life. What a farewell from the legend to Oracle.
With this win the Mavericks move to 29-44 and get Sacramento at home on Tuesday.