The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Charlotte Hornets in Dallas by a score of 120-96.
The Mavericks showed no signs of wear on their third game in four nights as they dismantled an admittedly shorthanded Hornets team. They came out and proceeded to blow the doors off with a 37-20 first quarter, and never looked back.
It was another game that saw contributions from just about every Maverick that was available to play. Every Dallas Maverick who was available saw the floor tonight, and all of them save for Dwight Powell and Frank Ntilikina scored, although that pair played only eight and three minutes respectively. (It should be noted, that Boban Marjanovic turned his three minutes of playing time into four points.) Kristaps Porzingis led the way with a 24 and 13 night, most of which came in the Mavs’ huge 70 point first half. Gordon Hayward had an efficient 17 point for Charlotte, but it wasn’t the kind of night where that sort of thing mattered. Dallas’ lead was never in question after they opened a 10-0 lead to start the game.
A little of everything
In the win yesterday over the Thunder, Dallas’ offensive output, like tonight, was spread out fairly evenly among the entire lineup. That kind of across the board contribution was something I noted would be needed in the preview to this Hornet’s game, but also that they squad could really use a stand out performance from someone like Porzingis or Brunson to bolster the offense against a team that, even without a couple starters, still had more talent than the OKC squad they faced. Even a bubble Burke sighting would be a welcome sight, I’d mention. Well. Dallas got all of it.
Porzingis had just a monstrous first half, piling up 22 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks on his way to finishing with a 24-13-5 line for the night — accomplished in just 25 minutes of playing time as Dallas had the game well in hand. Burke, for his part, showed himself to be the exact kind of microwave scorer Dallas saw in the NBA bubble that earned him a three year contract. He started with a 10 point burst off the bench in the first quarter, and stayed aggressive in looking for his shot all night. He ended the game with 22 points on an efficient 4-of-7 from three.
Josh Green’s green light
After a big Moses Brown game on Sunday, another player Mavs fans have been clamoring to see more of showed out tonight. Josh Green didn’t miss a shot. He only took three, but damn if they weren’t exciting. In just three attempts he managed to be on the receiving end of an alley oop out off bounds play, and a fast break corner three he canned.
The story of Josh Green’s game, though, was about more than just raw scoring output. He played with the kind of energy rarely seen in the Maverick lineup in recent years, flying around the court, corralling five boards, dishing two assists and playing solid man to man defense where he earned himself a block.
Defense is a team effort
With Luka out, it’s a given that the offense is going to have to change gears. (Although, shooting 46% from three like they did tonight kind of means it doesn’t matter what gear they’re in.) Where Dallas could hang its hat in his absence is their defensive effort, and so far, in both games Doncic has missed, Dallas has held opponents below their season average in points.
With OKC averaging the fewest points in the league and Charlotte averaging the most, it was a fairly decent variety of samples. In both cases, Dallas held them more than 10 points below what they’d been averaging.
The huge grain of salt with Charlotte of course being that they were a team missing their lead playmaker in LaMelo Ball, but sometimes, being able to achieve a set goal against easier competition gives you the confidence to do it again against tougher competition —and that’s something Dallas is set to see more of quite soon. All the more reason to cash in these Ws while they can.
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