The Dallas Mavericks earned their 34th win of the season on the road in Orlando Friday night, 122-106. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Evan Fournier scored 28 in defeat for the Magic.
The Mavericks, led by Luka Doncic, looked refreshed from a few days off following the All Star weekend. A barrage of threes from both Kristaps Porzingis and Doncic allowed the Mavericks to steadily increase their lead throughout the frame. A number of sloppy turnovers from Luka were all that kept Dallas from blowing the doors off this game early. After one, the Mavericks led 34-18.
The bench unit played down to their competition to start the second quarter and allowed the Magic to get the Maverick lead down to single digits. Dallas responded with a run of their own to re-establish control of the game. However, turnovers and defensive miscues by Dallas kept Orlando in the game despite their horrendous shooting (37% from the field ad just 3 of 22 from deep). Though he didn’t match his first quarter scoring mark of 16, Doncic added eight in the frame to help pace Dallas. The Mavericks entered halftime with a 64-52 lead.
Sloppiness, a lack of energy, and too much complaining for the Mavericks caught up with them in a hurry in the third quarter as the Magic stormed all the way back into the game. Led by 18 points from Evan Fournier, Orlando ground down the Dallas lead and eventually took a brief one point lead. Luka Doncic went 1-8 from the floor in the frame, picked up a technical, and played effortless defense for most of the quarter. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle allowed Doncic to play through his issues though, as the Mavericks eventually stabilized late and took a seven point lead into the final frame. Dallas led 91-84 after 36 minutes of action.
Sticking with the now-traditional rotation, the bench unit for Dallas started the fourth and firmed up control of the game. Led by three point super hero Maxi Kleber, the Mavericks worked the lead back up to double digits. The starters all closed the game and kept the lead firmly in place. The Dallas Mavericks secured their 19th road win of the season, beating Orlando 122-106.
Now, some observations;
Maxi Kleber, never leave us
The second best player out of Wurzburg, Germany had one of the best games of his career, scoring 26 points, a new career high, on fire shooting, connecting on 10 of 13 from the floor. It cannot be stated often or loudly enough how valuable Maxi Kleber is to the Mavericks. A back-up stretch five who is this good on a steal of a contract is an extreme rarity in the modern NBA.
What in the world was that third quarter?
At minimum, the collapse and eventual resurrection of sorts by the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter is a reminder of just how young Luka Doncic is and how new to all this Dallas is as a team. The refs were bad in the quarter, there’s just no way around that.
Yet for most of the frame Doncic, and by extension the Mavericks, looked like crap. The Magic are not near good enough team to get that hot and storm back in the manner in which they did against Dallas. Kudos to Carlisle for letting Doncic work through his struggles and it’s good that it didn’t cost Dallas. Doncic must be better about responding to adversity because when the games really count, in the playoffs, it will not be easier. If anything, he’ll get fewer calls. He must learn practice patience and push through the kind of things he can’t control on the court and focus on what he can.
Off ball movement
Look at this:
When I ramble about getting Luka the ball in situations where he’s moving, this is what I mean. Granted, it came in the flow of the offense and certainly wasn’t a play, but my God is it beautiful. And I haven’t mentioned the willingness and vision by Porzingis to make the pass.
These guys are going to be so good one day. They’re still figuring it out and destroying teams in the creative process. It’s a joy to watch.
Bonus thing: holy crap Kristaps Porzingis
Sometimes y’all can tell when we hurry through a recap. I missed this:
Porzingis is only the second Maverick ever to finish with at least 20/10/5/5, per @bball_ref, joining Dirk, who did it once in 2006 and once in 2009.— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) February 22, 2020
HAHAHA. Like, what even IS that stat line? Amazing.
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.