It was a high energy night In the American Airlines Center and for good reason (despite it being a preseason game).
Dallas’ duo shines
To kick off the evening, star duo Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis came out aggressive on both ends of the floor. KP was making his presence felt in the paint getting two early blocks. Moments later, a quick outlet pass to Doncic after a Porzingis steal led to an easy bounce pass back to Porzingis who slammed it home to cap the fast break. In the second quarter, Doncic set up Porzingis with an easy pick-and-pop three that got the crowd on its feet. Porzingis looked fully engaged on both ends of the floor which opened things up for other guys.
I love how Luka always seems to have his eyes on Porzinigs. They played well off each other, showing once again that both of their offensive skillsets can be highlighted on offense at the same time. There were lots of high fives, head nods, and pointed fingers showing appreciation for one another out on the floor. You have to get excited at the idea of their chemistry only getting stronger.
The starters are filling in a the gaps
Tim Hardaway Jr. had a quiet eight points, while still managing to finish as a plus 14 in 16 minutes. He continues to be a threat when out on the floor, but with Dallas’ dynamic duo firing on all cylinders, there was no reason to look elsewhere for offensive production. Dwight Powell also had a solid first outing with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal, finishing as a plus 9. He showcased his explosiveness on multiple occasions which was a great sign after last season where he still looked to be recovering from his Achilles injury.
New kids on the blocks
Eugene Omoruyi had another remarkable performance putting up 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 22 minutes. He continues to win over more of the Mavs fan base with his effort and confidence out on the floor. Carlik Jones also looked promising as he shows his ability to maximize on the opportunities given to him. His shot selection is good, he plays at a very controlled pace for a rookie, and he makes the right reads as a playmaker. Frank Ntilikina clocked his first minutes as a Maverick, and I liked what I saw. He was a pest on defense and earned some “oohs” from the crowd as he ended the third quarter with a mean euro-step.
The Mavs head out on the road to wrap up their preseason schedule with two final matchups. First up is the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, October 13th followed by the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, October 15th. The regular season is right around the corner and the feeling around this team continues to get stronger and stronger. Dallas’ regular season opener is set for October 21st against the Atlanta Hawks, where we will finally get to see what this group looks like when it really counts.