The hope when these two teams faced off on Wednesday was that Dallas could “stop the bleeding.” Oh, it was stopped. It was stopped real fast. Like, Wolverine shaking off a paper cut fast.
After a 32-point drubbing where Dallas set some historic offensive numbers, including a deeply cathartic but ultimately unsustainable 79.6% shooting from the floor, what could we possibly ask for in the rematch? An even-keeled, buzzer-to-buzzer win for back to back wins would be enough. The middle seeds in the west have leaned fully into crab-in-a-bucket territory, where a single loss could drop someone from 4th to 9th.
There are still some issues to be worked out when it comes to facing those upper-echelon contenders, but so far this year, Dallas has taken care of business against teams they “should beat,” building up a perfect 7-0 record against teams un .500. And while Dallas shouldn’t take any team lightly, a Zion-less Pelicans team in Dallas is a team they should beat.
After he injured his ankle against Cleveland, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Porzingis would be missing some games. He had already been dealing with injury this season, and the team has no incentive for him to be playing through a bad ankle right now.
However, not only did Kristaps play, he played great putting up 20 points and 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes. As of Thursday afternoon, though, he’s listed as questionable with a left knee contusion. It’s possible we see a similar trajectory as the last game, with Porzingis going through shootaround and deciding he feels good enough to play. Dallas likely could have survived being without KP in what ended up being a steamrolling, but there’s no guarantee – a high likelihood, even – that the Mavs’ shooting stays as hot as it was on Wednesday, and KP’s spacing and raw scoring potential impacts the whole offense. Not to mention, he buffers the rotation of our bigs with Willie Cauley-Stein still out and Jonas Valanciunas likely looking for a bounce back game.
Continue the interior dominance
A big contributing factor to Dallas’ impressive win was their uncharacteristically dominant performance in the paint. They scored 60 points in the paint and had 23 shots at the rim.
Doncic took seven shots in the paint to just four mid-range jumpers. Porzingis was a perfect 6-6 at the rim, and took only three other shots inside the arc. Similarly, Brunson had just a single two point shot outside the paint.
It was a great shooting night however you slice it, but Dallas did well to make it easy on themselves by getting high quality looks close to the basket. On a night where they’re not shooting at a historic clip, that could be important for consistent buckets.
Winter is here for Reggie Bullock but in a good way
Reggie Bullock’s shooting has been a point of great contention amongst the Mav faithful. After two previous offseason whiffs in Delon Wright and Josh Richardson, Bullock was supposed to be the can’t-miss veteran addition with a solid track record as a contributor to both sides of the ball. Early on, it seemed like he had fallen victim to the same curse that sapped the shooting abilities of any wing play Dallas managed to add to the roster. There’s reason for optimism, though.
For his career, Reggie Bullock has been a habitually slow starter as a three point shooter. His volume and accuracy have been low through the months of October and November, where he’s averaging 29%. Once December hits, though, it’s an entirely different story. His career attempts in December nearly match his combined attempts in October and November, and his percentage skyrockets to 42.4%. So far so good, as he was 2-3 from three as of December 1st. Let’s hope that trend continues.
Bonus - Dallas Mavericks - Divisional titans
After this upcoming game against New Orleans, Dallas will be 21 games into their 82 game season, but already nearly halfway through their divisional games.
So far they’re a perfect 6-0. The Southwest ain’t what it used to be, but with the Western Conference playoff seeding looking to be jam packed from 4 through 10, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a pristine divisional record. A team’s divisional rank and winning percent are the second and third level tie-breakers for playoff seeding after head to head matchups.
How to watch
You can watch the broadcast on Bally Sports at 7:30 CST