Pre-hiatus, the Dallas Mavericks’ not only had the most efficient offense in NBA history but were also a very exciting team to watch. An offense that featured the pick-and-roll, ran 5 men out, and had a lot of motion was destined to be fun. There were lots of flashy passes, plenty of alley-oops, and some vicious dunks. These are just a few of the Mavs most exciting plays from this past season:
#12: Luka behind-the-back pass to Tim Hardaway Jr. for a corner three
I love this play because it shows how smart Luka Doncic is. The Knicks trap Luka out of the P&R perfectly, and the only way he gets out of it is if he can somehow get the ball to Tim Hardaway Jr. in the corner. I think you know how this ends.
#11: Luka passes behind his head for a Unicorn three
Collin Sexton makes a bad defensive play (surprised?) and doesn’t switch onto Kristaps Porzingis. Luka trusts his instincts and, without looking, throws it behind his head for this dime.
#10: Porzingis to Luka for a slam
Luka has assisted on 24 KP dunks this season. This was one of just the two times that Porzingis assisted on a Luka dunk. Not often do we get to see Doncic attack like this and it sure is beautiful.
#9: Luka makes Jerami Grant look silly
Everyone knows about Luka’s step back, but part of the step back being so effective is having a good handle. What Luka does with the dribble here is perfectly executed. He uses his downhill momentum so well that when he steps back Grant nearly falls on the ground. And no, that is not push-off.
#8: Willie Trill’s “Thrunk”
Not everyone is a fan of the thrown in dunk - or as some call it - the thrunk. Yet there is just something so beautiful about this one by Cauley-Stein. Millsap does a good job of filling the lane and helping Jokic, but it’s no match for Willie with a full head of steam.
#7: Maxi posters Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside leads the league in BPG and BLK%, essentially making him the toughest interior defender to score on. Unless your name is Maxi Kleber. Luka has to make the perfect pass (which he does), and all Kleber has to do is go up and get it. This is one I could watch all day.
#6: Luka’s dime to Finney-Smith
This play is similar to the one above but everything is more complex. The Mavs ran this play a couple of times this season. The wing hands the ball off to the ball handler, wing cuts to the basket while getting a bump screen from a big, and the ball handler throws the lob. How Finney-Smith finished this lob nearly out of the restricted area and with Trey Lyles below him is beyond me.
#5: Curry’s fancy pass to Luka
This play is what it looks for an offense to run perfectly. Curry hits Patty Mills with a dirty crossover and then drives to the lane. When two help defenders collapse on him he stops, knowing someone is open. Meanwhile Porzingis is on the wing setting a really important off-ball screen for Luka. Doncic realizes Curry is trapped and instead of heading to the corner (you can see him think about it for a split second), he cuts to the basket knowing also that he has White beat. Curry splits the help defenders with a beautiful pass, and we’ve got Air Luka.
#4: Touchdown pass from Curry to Cauley-Stein
This one made me jump out of my seat when I watched it live. The obvious thing you see is the level of difficulty on the pass from Seth Curry. When you watch it again, you can see the play starts with Curry making a tough rebound. Then you notice maybe the most important piece of this play; the incredible speed by Cauley-Stein. Bismack Biyombo is thinking too much about the ball, and Willie turns on the jets to get the easy dunk.
#3: The famous Luka circus shot
This play took over Sportscenter and Youtube highlights. When someone says “Luka Magic”, this is the first thing that comes to my mind. Corey Joseph holds on to Luka’s arm hoping to prevent a bucket, but you’re gonna have to hold both arms to stop this man from scoring.
#2: KP with the throw down after a nice pass from Luka
The Doncic and Porzingis pick and roll game is unstoppable and here’s proof. KP sets a nice pick on Dillion Brooks, forcing Jonas Valanciunas to drop into the paint as Luka clearly has the lane. What Valanciunas doesn’t realize is that he’s left Porzingis, who shot 34.9% from deep this season, wide open on the wing. Luka makes a beautiful pass and by the time Valanciunas realizes his mistake he has to sprint to contest a possible shot, giving KP the perfect opportunity to use a ball fake. When he did, it didn’t matter who was gonna try to meet him at the rim, he was getting a bucket.
#1: The Mexico City Lob
I know this play is special to so many MFFLs - including me - which is why I knew it had to included on this list. Maybe it’s due to the setting of Mexico City, or that Luka had an incredible all around game, or because it was still somewhat early in the season. Whatever it may be, this play never gets old. Luka exposes the help defense perfectly and Kristaps throws it down with emphasis.
Which plays did we miss? Share in the comments!