The Dallas Mavericks fell to 3-5 in the Orlando Bubble, losing to the Phoenix Suns, 128-102. It was their final regular season game of the 2019-20 season.
Dallas entered this game already knowing they’d be playing the Clippers, while the Suns were fighting for their playoff lives. Entering as an 8.5 point favorite, it seemed as if everyone expected Phoenix to take advantage of a Dallas team without their starting center.
Devin Booker, who will likely be named Bubble MVP, had a remarkable game from the tip. He scored 14 points in his first 11 minutes, leading his team to an 11 point lead after the first quarter. Boban Marjanovic got the starting nod as Kristaps Porzingis sat with a heel bruise, and he made the most of his minutes. He finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds at the half. Despite an 18 point first half by Luka Doncic, the Suns entered halftime with a 76-57 lead. That was thanks to Booker adding nine more points in quarter two, and a 13 point half by Cameron Payne. The Suns shot just under 66 percent in the first half.
With Doncic resting the entire second half, the Suns had a good opportunity to blow the doors open, and that’s just what they did. With the Mavericks starters resting, the Suns opened their lead to 25 through three quarters. Dallas did their best to make it through the final frame in good health and lose 128-102.
A good loss!
Let’s look on the bright side of things. With the Mavericks already locked into a playoff series with the Clippers, a win today would’ve meant nothing. Actually, it would’ve meant something, but only bad things. A win today would’ve likely sent the Mavericks down in their first round positioning of the upcoming draft. Now, they have secured themselves with the 18th overall pick. In one of the most important drafts of the Mavericks future, every pick counts and now they’re in prime position to snag a good role player.
Doncic played well in the 13 minutes he saw the court. He scored 18 points, seven of which were from the free throw line. He proved to be aggressive at drawing fouls on three-point shot attempts, which was an encouraging sign. He also scored this pretty basket.
The game is so slow for Luka Doncic.— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) August 13, 2020
Watch as he waits for Bridges to catch up and uses it against the Suns to freeze Ayton in no-mans-land before sidestepping him and finishing pic.twitter.com/XJOHt9YjO5
Conserve your MKG takes... for now
I was pleasantly surprised by Kidd-Gilchrist’s defense against the Jazz a couple of games ago. Hell, I even wrote an entire article about it! But while it was exciting to see his defensive performance, it’s also important to note that it was against the Jazz’s scrubs. I even found myself getting greedy, hoping there’d be more minutes in the rotation for him. But tonight was the first time we saw him against starters, and it was not pretty to say the least. So while Kidd-Gilchrist may still have some more opportunities in the playoffs, it might be appropriate to slow down with some of the Kawhi Leonard stopper takes I’ve seen the past few days.