Wins and losses don’t really matter in the preseason, but if you’re going to play the games, you might as well win them, right? Winning is better than losing and the Mavericks stayed winning in the preseason after a 122-114 win Friday night against the Clippers in Dallas.
It was a really fun night for basically the entire roster. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis showed out in the first half and then in the second, the Mavericks young players energized the home crowd and closed out the win.
Let’s take a look at three things we noticed.
Kristaps Porzingis continues looking good
By far the biggest question on this Mavericks roster was what does Kristaps Porzingis look like after an offseason where he wasn’t rehabbing and instead training like normal? So far, so good through two preseason games.
Against the Jazz, Porzingis moved well and had a good game defensively, with his offense still looking a bit stiff. Against the Clippers, Porzingis was much more well rounded — he continued to move his feet well, guarded the rim tremendously and got going offensively, playing off Doncic nicely in the pick and roll. The only downside was whenever Porzingis tried to create for himself, he still looked a little stiff and robotic, but that’s a small complaint compared to what else he did. In just 19 minutes, he had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and an eye-popping three blocks.
The biggest thing that caught my eye? The seven free throw attempts. Porzingis had a career-low season last season in regards to drawing fouls, so seeing Porzingis take a hard dribble toward the bucket and get fouled was a sight for sore eyes. That’s as good a sign as any that Porzingis feels healthy.
The young guys are a lot of fun
Preseason NBA games are normally a slog. Lots of minutes for undrafted free agents, rookies and training camp hopefuls. As the starters sit, these guys, who typically haven’t really played together, have to scrap together minutes of competitive basketball. It usually isn’t pretty.
In these two preseason games, however, the Mavericks young guys are tons of fun. Seemingly each one from the group of Moses Brown, Eugene Omoruyi, Carlik Jones and Feron Hunt have all done something each game. Against the Jazz, it was Jones scoring 13 points in 14 points and against the Clippers it was Omoruyi showing out in a big way, leading the team with 19 points while chipping in five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Omoruyi took over the game for parts of the third and fourth quarters, giving the Mavericks a second half lead they would never give up.
Omoruyi did almost all of his damage around the basket, as the Mavericks guards continually found him off screens and in transition. He also did a good job just bullying his defender in the post, driving hard at the rim. It was really fun. He wasn’t alone though.
Jones had another solid effort with six points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hunt had another nice dunk in transition and Brown checked in late but still managed to score eight points in eight minutes.
There’s something to be said about why are these guys splashing off the TV screen while the former first round pick Josh Green continues to be a background player, but that’s for another time. Watching these guys is fun.
Luka Doncic is ready for the real games
Yes, we highlighted Doncic’s extremely efficient first half in the win against the Jazz, but we need to talk about him again because against the Clippers he had a near triple-double in 18 first-half minutes.
A clean 14 points, eight rebounds, nine assists for Doncic on 11 shots. He’s making this look really easy so far and while it is only just preseason, it’s nice to see Doncic look no worse for wear after a very busy offseason that saw him lead his Slovenian national team on an incredible Olympic run in Japan.
Here’s our postgame podcast, with Josh and
Kirk Matt Phillips doing a brief recap 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.