It’s early, but it already began to feel like the Mavericks were due for a tone-setting win. Perhaps feeling that himself, Rick Carlisle made some changes to the starting lineup heading into this matchup with the Rockets. Dwight Powell was replaced by Willie Cauley-Stein, and Tim Hardaway Jr. was moved to the bench as Dorian Finney-Smith slid up to the wing. The results could not have been better for the Mavericks, who won in convincing fashion. It was a fun game to watch that created some really interesting numbers.
16-3: The Mavericks’ game-sealing fourth-quarter run
A simple glance at the box score will look like Houston played Dallas pretty close in the fourth quarter, only getting outscored by six points. Yet once the quarter hit the six-minute mark, the Mavericks flipped a switch offensively and blew the game open. James Harden hit a three with 6:41 left in the game. The Rockets wouldn’t score again until Eric Gordon hit a three of his own with 2:11 left. The Mavericks would score 12 points in that frame, stretching their lead to 11 points. It felt great to see Dallas not only click in the fourth quarter, but flat out dominate the other team.
16: Dallas’s first half second-chance points
As Rick Carlisle tinkered with lineups and ran a much bigger starting five, the Mavericks showed they could finally control the glass. The Mavericks finished with 16 second-chance points in the first half. The most they had in an entire game heading into tonight was 14. The Mavericks finished a game with the rebounding advantage for just the third time this season. They are 3-0 in those games. The plus-16 rebounding margin is the second-highest Dallas has had this season, trailing only the plus-18 they posted in the Clippers blowout.
95%: The Mavericks’ free-throw shooting
Heading into tonight, the Mavericks only had two games shooting above 80% from the “charity stripe”. In this one, they were 19-of-20. This was the first time they shot at least 95% on at least 20 free throw attempts since February 3, 2020. The free-throw line performance was further evidence of a great shooting night from the Mavericks, who shot above 35% from three for only the second time this season.
30: Tim Hardaway Jr.’s point total off-the-bench
A sudden lineup change can rattle a player’s morale, particularly if they felt solidified as a starter. Tonight, Hardaway looked anything other than bothered, scoring the second-most points as a non-starter in his career. He was dialed in from deep, making 8-of-10 threes. Before tonight, Hardaway had never shot above 80% from deep in a game where he took at least 10 three-point attempts. Perhaps a move to the bench maximizes his talent — or just made him hungry for a bigger role.
33-16-11: Luka Doncic’s stat line
Doncic’s line looks a lot like one we are used to. It’s hard to describe how impressive Doncic looked tonight if you were unable to catch the game yourself. Quite simply, he looked like himself as he easily posted the NBA’s first 30-point triple-double of the season.
He made effortless passes like these, as he eclipsed 1,000 career assists. He is only the 11th player in NBA history to hit that millennium before turning 22 years old.
Doncic’s game tonight was another indication of the level of greatness he has already achieved. According to Mavs PR, Doncic has now had 39 games leading the Mavericks in points, assists, and rebounds. That’s the most of any player has in franchise history. He passed Dirk Nowitzki in that regard, who played in 1,383 more games than Doncic has at this point. Maybe panicking about his conditioning five games into the season was a little premature.
Most career triple-doubles before turning 22:— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 5, 2021
26 — Luka Doncic
25 — Next 2 players combined (Magic Johnson, Ben Simmons) pic.twitter.com/OqBGlMux3I