It was a wacky win for Dallas on the way to their first back-to-back home wins of the season. Without Kristaps Porzingis, Reggie Bullock was promoted to the starting unit, and the bench came up big as Dallas won 104-99. Let’s look at some of the more interesting stats from tonight’s victory
9 minutes and 36 seconds
The time it took for Dallas to swing the score from a 20-point deficit to a seven-point lead. The Mavericks, always the generous hosts, saw fit to spot the visiting Spurs a 25-5 lead to open the game, then with the pleasantries out of the way, indulged themselves with a 31-4 run of their own to take a seven-point lead, courtesy of a huge effort from the Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber-led bench unit. It was one of the more bizarre starts to a game in recent memory. It was made even stranger by how tightly the game was played from that point on, with the lead changing hands often and neither team opening up much of a lead until Dallas pulled away midway through the fourth...only to sweat out the final minute.
Number of blocks for Kleber. A quick look at the plus/minus for the starting unit vs the bench mob really tells the tale of this game. Brunson had another great game, immediately injecting energy when Dallas was getting blown out early. Frank Ntilikina shined in his stints, playing tight defense and knocking down opportune threes. The stand out, though, has to be Maxi Kleber. After Brunson tied a career high in assists against Houston, it was Kleber’s turn to have a career night.
He was a complete game changer all night both on defense with his aforementioned rejections and also from distance. Kleber took all eight of his shots from beyond the arc and hit four of them. In a night of great bench play, he turned in an absolute gem of a two-way game.
The Mavericks’ mark from the free throw line. Anemic, and something that caused them to sweat it out more than they needed to down the stretch. There were no heroes from the stripe tonight, but perhaps the most glaring instance of poor free-throw shooting came with Luka Doncic at the line. With their 10-point lead shaved to six with a minute to play, Doncic missed two free throws, which immediately turned into a DeJounte Murray three pointer, brining the score to 102-99; a single possession game.
Dallas had the wherewithal to pull out the 104-99 win, but those Doncic misses were the cherry on top of an abysmal team performance from the free-throw line. Shooting just 30.8 percent from the stripe is a great way to lose close games the team should be winning.
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