The first quarter featured some less than inspiring basketball, but it was good once again to see Kristaps Porzingis getting involved early.
Whether it was deliberate or not, Luka Doncic was a lot less hands-on in the first quarter, with Seth Curry taking a fair chunk of the ball handling responsibilities. This could be a move to save Doncic’s legs, with him appearing to fade late in games at times this season and another game tomorrow.
Delon Wright was as active as ever, tallying seven rebounds in the first half, four of them coming off the offensive glass.
The Mavericks built a 16-point lead early in the third, before the Thunder responded with a run to bring the game to within five points. Both teams exchanged hits to one another before Dallas steadied the ship to take an 11-point lead into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was played on the Mavericks terms, and it never looked in doubt that they would come away with the win.
Here’s three observations from tonights game in Oklahoma City.
The Mavericks avoided a fourth-quarter meltdown
We have unfortunately become accustomed to watching fourth quarter leads be blown away and heart-breaking losses in crunch time. Thankfully tonight was a different story, with the Mavericks keeping their lead in hand, and responding to every run the Thunder made.
The lead also allowed Luka to be kept on the bench for longer, with him checking in with 4:53 left in the quarter. He seemed much more assertive after he checked in than he did last game against the Utah Jazz, where he looked tired and out of rhythm.
Kristaps Porzingis was solid
Porzingis finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and was instrumental during the third quarter when Doncic was on the bench. The Thunder made a couple of runs in that time, but the Mavericks’ big man looked in control and hit some important shots when it mattered.
Rick Carlisle looked really pleased with Porzingis, encouraging him at timeouts and was all smiles with him after the game. It was a welcomed sight after Porzingis has missed so many games recently.
This Delon Wright is the best Delon Wright
Wright was one of three Mavericks who notched a double-double, with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. He was everywhere on the floor, scoring points off offensive rebounds, and hustled constantly on defense.
After the game, Carlisle said he was happy with Wrights performance and was impressed what he did on the glass.
“He really impacts the game defensively, he really impacts the game with the pace that he brings to the game, his rebounding is an underrated part of his game and I love the way he’s putting pressure on the rim,” he said.
The Mavericks are back at home tomorrow night as they take on the Phoenix Suns.
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.