The Dallas Mavericks played hard but lost a nail biter to the Phoenix Suns 105-98. The Mavericks struggled to generate quality offense without Luka Doncic, who sat out with an ankle injury.
The Mavericks shot much better than the Suns from deep but could not hold up in crunch time. The Suns closed the game on a 9-2 run as the Mavericks could not create quality offense late. The Suns shot making which had failed them all game also came to life late, with Devin Booker making a particularly ludicrous three.
Here are the stats to know.
7: Number of assists for Kristaps Porzingis
This was a career high. Porzingis having a high number of assists has generally been one of the Mavericks’ most positive statistical indicators. The talent disparity without Luka was just too much to overcome. Porzingis did a really good job when involved as a dribble hand-off hub tonight. This should not be abandoned once Luka returns.
50: Percentage the Mavericks shot from three
The Mavericks have begun to shoot much better as of late and tonight was no exception. The Mavericks shooting well can only be a good omen once Luka returns. So much of his talent is generating great looks for his teammates and shooting this well will go a long way to fixing the issues this team has had.
8: Number of points the Mavericks were outscored by in Willie Cauley-Stein’s 9 minutes
Shoot him into the sun.
1: Combined number of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks for Cauley-Stein in his 9 minutes. Also his number of turnovers.
Seriously shoot him into the sun. It appears that coach Jason Kidd may share a similar opinion as the Mavericks played some minutes with Dwight Powell as the lone big that would normally go to Cauley-Stein.
13: Number of points for Frank Ntilikina and rebounds for Dwight Powell
The French Prince was fantastic tonight, playing quality defense and shot making. He was 5-of-8 from the floor and made all three of his three point attempts. He is a valuable rotation member and the clear cut best young prospect on the Mavericks.
Powell has clear limitations but contrasting his game with Cauley-Stein’s should make it clear what the coaching staff sees in him. To put it simply he plays really hard and knows where to be. Deandre Ayton has an immense talent advantage on Powell and yet Powell battled to keep the team in the game until the very end. His 13 rebounds were crucial in keeping it close.
Overall the team lost this game but should not hang their heads at all. In fact this is probably the third most impressive performance of the season to date. That is particularly encouraging as the other two most impressive performances were the previous two games.
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