The Dallas Mavericks are over .500 once again, bouncing back to win two in a row, the latest a 122-117 win against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
It was an interesting game where the Mavericks looked like world beaters for 40 minutes, a lottery team for about seven and then back to a contender in the final minute. Things definitely got a bit hairy in the final moments, but the Mavericks got the stops and the makes needed to pull this over the finish line. Here are the important numbers from the win.
5: Turnovers for the Mavericks
Dallas only turned the ball over five times against San Antonio, a season-low and matching its season low from last season.
Luka Doncic was the only Maverick with at least two turnovers, while three other Mavericks had just one a piece. It was a big reason why the Mavericks were both able to build a big lead early on and keep afloat in the second half. The Dallas offense dried up at times in the fourth quarter, but credit to the Mavericks for not getting sloppy and fueling the Spurs transition offense. If the Mavericks were more careless with the ball, it’s probably a loss for the Mavs.
90: Mavericks team free throw percentage
The Mavericks have struggled from the line all season, ranking in the bottom half of the league entering Friday night. It was a great sign to see Dallas finish the night 18-of-20 against San Antonio, especially in a close game.
This marks back-to-back quality free throw shooting games from the Mavericks, as they shot 82.4 percent against the Pacers on Wednesday. It’s the first time the Mavericks have gone back-to-back games over 80 percent at the charity stripe.
Kudos to Wes Iwundu especially, as he made the final two free throws to clinch the game with the Mavericks up three with two seconds left. The Spurs had a timeout and could have had a chance to tie if Iwundu didn’t make at least one and he ended up making both. It was good to see, especially after he missed a clutch three pointer a few minutes earlier.
56.4: Luka Doncic’s shooting percentage on mid-range jumpers
I’m stealing this one from our staffer Hank, who noted that Doncic is now tied with Stephen Curry for third in the league in percentage on mid-range shots for all players who have attempted more than 35 shots from that range. Pretty good!
Doncic showed off his improved the mid-range game against the Spurs, mixing it up with some calm step-backs and some smooth turnaround bank shots. It was a turnaround bank shot against LaMarcus Aldridge in the final minute that helped sealed the win.
We all know that three is greater than two and that mid-range shots aren’t necessarily the best, but it’s great to see Doncic diversifying his scoring so he’s not so one note when the defense clamps down. That turnaround shot against Aldridge was a sight for sore eyes when you think about how that possession might have ended for last season’s Mavericks (a likely bad step-back three). Doncic learning a new trick is fun.
50: Kristaps Porzingis’ percentage on post-up shots against the Spurs
San Antonio played the odds and dared Kristaps Porzingis to beat them in the post, putting a small on Porzingis instead of guarding him with either Aldridge or Jakob Poeltl. The Spurs were betting on Porzingis’ lousy post up numbers from last season and Porzingis torched them.
Porzingis shot 3-of-6 in the post against the Spurs, handling himself well with some nice no-dribble turnarounds and some smooth fallaways. The less dribbling for Porzingis is best and he made his moves in the post against the smaller Spurs defenders without a bunch of wasted movement. He was assertive and confident.
For the season, Porzingis is now shooting 10-of-20 on post ups, a far greater number than a season ago, although it’s still very early. The key for Porzingis using the post up seems to be so long as it comes within the flow of the Mavericks offense, against a smaller defender with Porzingis not wasting any time. He looked good against the Spurs, scoring 21 points on 14 shots.