The Dallas Mavericks destroyed the Charlotte Hornets 127-59 in the game coach Jason Kidd chose to treat as their dress rehearsal. Kristaps Porzingis was the best player on the court with an extremely efficient 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was also everywhere on defense as he continued to show great movement following a healthy off season.
Luka Doncic appeared disinterested for large portions of the first half but managed to get to 10 points and eight assists with only one turnover. He appeared happy to let Porzingis carry the team which can be nothing but good for the team going forward.
The best ability is availability
The Mavericks have struggled with availability over the last couple of seasons but tonight all core players except Reggie Bullock were available. The same was not true of the Hornets. They were missing Terry Rozier and Gordan Hayward and LaMelo Ball played only 11 minutes. The Hornets should be in the mix for a playoff or play in spot, but the roster they played tonight certainly would not be. It felt nice for the Mavericks to not be the team dealing with players unavailable even though it was just a preseason game.
Defense, Defense, Defense
The Hornets were undermanned, but the Mavericks still deserve credit for holding any NBA team to 59 points in a complete game. Porzingis utilized his length to great effect in order to deter shots, even though he was not credited with a block. Maxi Kleber had two blocks, two steals and despite missing several open threes, impacted the game defensively.
He did not play until late in the game, but Moses Brown’s effort was noticeable. He may not be particularly skilled for an NBA player but effort is a skill and he has it in spades. He runs incredibly hard from rim to rim and managed to put up 10 points, three rebounds and a block in only eight minutes of playing time. Porzingis’ effort was also very apparent as he appears to be well on his way to regaining his defensive reputation.
Three point shooting
Much ink has been spilled over the number of three point attempts that the team will take this year. Kidd has been adamant that the team will take less threes, but the roster is constructed in such a manner that they simply have to be a high volume shooting team in order to win. They attempted 46 threes tonight and seemed more than willing to let shots go when they were open.
Luka not going to the line
This is not a complaint about the referees. Luka has taken four free throw attempts in 59 minutes of preseason action. He did not appear to be engaged enough to draw much contact tonight, resulting in him not attempting a single free throw. Given his previous issues with officials, this is a story which needs to be monitored.
The league changed the rules in order to not award free throws on “unnatural” shooting motions. For Luka, this could be a huge problem as many of the floaters and short mid range shots he shoots, appear to be unnatural. Tonight is undoubtedly as positive as any preseason game can be but this is the one potential negative to watch going forward.
Preseason games should not change one’s opinion on anything, after all Josh Richardson shot 73 percent from three last preseason. But if you are going to play them, you might as well win them. You can’t win them much bigger than the Mavericks did tonight as this was the biggest preseason win in history per the ESPN broadcast.
Here’s our postgame podcast, with Josh and Kirk doing some brief analysis of the game. If you can’t see the embed below, click here. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball podcast.