The Dallas Mavericks fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 119-109. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 24 points. Luka Doncic filled the box score in defeat, with 38 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
Both Dallas and San Antonio started slow, with neither team able to take real advantage of the other’s sloppiness. Things settled by the middle of the frame (including a rare Luka Doncic catch-and-shoot three!), particularly when Delon Wright came in off the bench. Dallas built a seven point lead that the Spurs chopped down to two in the final possessions with back to back three pointers. Despite a 10 point quarter from Doncic, the Mavericks only led 29-27 after twelve minutes of basketball.
The Mavericks came out humming in the second quarter, with Doncic hitting threes and delivering crisp passes. The Spurs pushed back after an 8-0 Maverick run, eating Dallas up using mid-range shots. After seeing their lead cut to four, the Mavericks steadily increased their lead all the way up to 11 with around four minutes remaining in the half. San Antonio responded with a sustained 8-0 run of their own to make the game close with 90 seconds remaining. A late Dorian Finney-Smith three gave Dallas a 59-54 lead at the half.
Quarter three had the same back-and-forth nature of the second, with the Mavericks jumping out to a double digit lead only for the Spurs to will themselves back into the contest. After San Antonio fought all the way back to tie the game up at 71, Dallas went on a 7-0 run, causing Greg Popovic to call another timeout. You won’t guess what happened in the final four minutes... that’s right, a 7-0 Spurs run! The teams traded baskets to end the quarter, but the Mavericks took a 85-83 lead into the fourth.
An odd Dallas line up to start the fourth led to multiple Maverick turnovers and a 9-0 Spurs run to take the lead. The Spurs continued to pile on Dallas, extending the lead to 11 before a clear path foul on Courtney Lee and a Doncic lay up returned the momentum. A Tim Hardaway three trimmed the lead to four with just under six minutes remaining. The Spurs answered with a mouth-punch of a three point shot after a timeout. Dallas kept fighting but simply couldn’t take advantage of opportunities to get back in it. The Mavericks crumble in San Antonio, 119-109
Now, some stuff:
Kristaps Porzingis must find consistency
This may be a hot take in some circles, but Porzingis was absolutely dreadful for two straight games. He didn’t play hard on either end, took some really bad shots, and avoided contact on drives like it was his job.
Look, I’ve been hard on Porzingis all season and issued my fair share of apologies when he went nuts from January 31st on until the Pacer game Sunday where he fell apart. He’s shooting just 7 of 32 from the field since daylight savings time.
More than that though, it’s effort. In the fourth with the game in the balance, he made a poor decision on a catch and to avoid a turnover he tried to throw it off a Spur. The ball went into the back court and he did not run back hard and the Spurs scored to effectively seal the game. The TNT announcers rightfully ripped Porzingis apart. The disdain in his body language was evident. That kind of stuff cannot happen, whether his shot is falling or not. Effort is the one thing he can control and it was inconsistent at best.
The rotation is too shallow and no help is coming
Things fell apart for the Mavericks in the fourth right at the onset with that very bad line up Rick Carlisle opted to put out against the Spurs. Boban is a match up player at best and posting him up against Aldridge was dumb, there’s no other way around that.
Yet, I’m unclear what the Mavericks are supposed to do with this many injuries. Justin Jackson isn’t able to play big. Porzingis can’t play all game. Maxi Kleber is probably quite tired from all his playing time. There isn’t anyone left for Dallas to use at this point.
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.