The Mavericks got their second win in three days against the Bucks, winning 128-112. Luka Doncic led both teams in scoring, putting up 27 points and eight rebounds.
Both teams struggled early in the first quarter, looking like two teams working out a lot of rust, despite just playing on Saturday. Dallas eventually went on a run to go up 25-15 on some nice shooting by Josh Richardson. Then the starters sat, and Milwaukee came roaring back in the second, going on a 30-13 run to put themselves up 45-38 midway through the quarter. Things didn’t get much better when Doncic and company returned, and Dallas went into the half down ten. The Mavericks have talked a lot about getting better on defense this season, and even though it’s a preseason game, after giving up 69 points in the first half, it’s obvious there’s still some work to do.
Unlike Saturday’s game, Dallas brought the starters back onto the floor to start the third quarter, which quickly proved to be a good decision. They closed the gap within a few minutes, with Doncic scoring or assisting on three of the first five buckets to tie the game. Most of the starting five stayed on the floor until a little less than five minutes left in the quarter, when Maxi Kleber subbed for Dwight Powell. The first unit, minus Powell, ended up playing the entire third. The Mavericks’ efficiency on offense chipped away at the Bucks’ lead, heading into the fourth with a 95-93 lead.
The bench mob kept up the pressure in the final quarter, led by the backcourt duo of Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke. The two undersized guards scored the first eleven points of the fourth, sparking a 14-2 run by Dallas. Milwaukee never really challenged Dallas for the lead after that surge, and the Mavericks wrapped up the game with four rookies on the floor.
Richardson had 15 points in the first half, hitting all three of his shots from deep. He ended up shooting 5-of-6 from three. Richardson doesn’t need to shoot as well as the departed Seth Curry — he just needs to do a reasonable imitation while providing better defense. Through two preseason games, he’s doing just that. Richardson finished with 23 points and seven rebounds along with a pair of assists. If he keeps this up this level of play the whole season, the Mavericks are going to be dangerous.
Doncic’s Free Throw Struggles
Missed free throws haunted the Mavericks all of last season, especially in the clutch. Doncic was one of the worst offenders, and that trend continued in this game. He was 6-of-10 from the charity stripe, which isn’t especially terrible. But it’s the one true weakness in his game, and it has hurt Dallas in some close games. It would be nice to see some improvement in that area.
Mavericks’ Scorching Hot Shooting
Dallas has always shot a lot of three pointers under Rick Carlisle, and this year will be no different. The Mavericks hit 22-of-46 from behind the arc tonight, and when they shoot like that, they’re going to be hard to beat. One of the big questions this season is whether or not the Mavericks’ role players can shoot like they did last year. So far it looks like the answer is yes.