The Dallas Mavericks fell in their second scrimmage in Orlando to the Indiana Pacers, 118-111. T.J. Warren led a balanced Pacer attack with 20 points and six rebounds. Luka Doncic put up a near triple double in limited minutes, 20 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists in just 24 minutes.
The Mavericks torched the Pacers in the first period, connecting on seven of twelve shots from three, and putting Indiana on their heels. The Pacers stormed back in the second, with Victor Oladipo leading the way and connecting on multiple threes. Though Indiana tied the game late in the quarter, Dallas took a 64-61 lead into the half.
Luka Doncic started the half sloppy with a strange turnover and things went downhill from there for the Mavericks. Dallas went cold from distance and the Pacers clamped down on drives. Once the Dallas starters left the game, the superior depth of the Pacers won out and wore Dallas down
Now, some stuff
The Maverick spacing is extremely difficult to guard
Just look at this shot and make out of a simple high pick and roll.
Boban Marjanovich rolls with Luka Doncic controlling the entire defense with his methodical drive. Because of the defender on his back, Doncic pulls in the man responsible for Antonius Cleveland just enough to where he’s in no man’s land. If he steps more towards Doncic, the pass sails to the corner, if he steps towards the corner, Doncic is taking the shot in the restricted area. Luka knows he’s got the defender thinking too much, makes a crisp pass, and Cleveland buries the three.
Doncic’s brilliance with the ball continues to marvel. His ball fakes cause defenses to panic. Look at this subtle fake here which results in a wide open Maxi Kleber lay in.
You can judge the quality of a no-look pass by watching how the defenders react. pic.twitter.com/fjmJiemwFw— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) July 26, 2020
This might be the best offensive drive from Delon Wright all year, all due to the space the Mavericks play with.
Delon Wright with the NASTY spin and then kick out to AC for threeeeee pic.twitter.com/0pD6yWLeG1— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) July 26, 2020
The only thing that can stop the Mavericks is when they’re missing good shots shots or when there’s too much dribbling.
The defense needs work
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how the Mavericks can shore up their defense, but it would start with Kristaps Porzingis not missing a COVID-19 test and then missing the game. Past that, Dallas simply needs to play harder on the defensive end. Without KP, Dallas did a great deal of switching in the first quarter and it worked reasonably well. Things started to go poorly with Boban anchoring the defense; the Pacers have good big men shooters and pulled him away from the basket, which caused numerous breakdowns.
The depth in the front court is a known challenge at this point. What they can do about it, past scoring more than their opponent, is unclear.
Living and dying by the three pointer
This is an obvious point, but the Mavericks are very reliant on the three point shot. They roasted the Pacers early, hitting 10 of 15 from three to start the game. The Mavericks hit just five of their next 23 attempts from distance. That includes a pair of late J.J. Barea threes after the game was already out of reach. When the three ball doesn’t go for Dallas, the historic nature of their offense collapses.
There’s one more scrimmage for the Mavericks, Tuesday evening against the Philadelphia 76ers.
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.