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3 things as the Mavericks execute late, beat the Spurs, 115-104

The good times roll unabated

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In their first game coming out of the All-Star break Dallas notches another win in a back and forth affair in an important matchup against division foe and leader Spurs. We were greeted with some strange news pre-game as LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs would be mutually parting ways.

Nevertheless, DeMar DeRozan led the way for San Antonio in efficient fashion, putting up 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting. For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic got off to a slow start shooting, netting just six points at the half. Still, he made an impact on the boards and racked up some assists early, and he found his way into a triple double as his scoring caught up to his other contributions in the second half. In the end, he paced the Mavs with 22 points to go with his 12 boards and 12 assists.

Mavs pull away late on Porzingis’ strong 4th quarter stretch

With Dallas nursing a two point lead midway through the fourth, up 97-95, Kristaps Porzingis made his will felt by scoring seven straight points as the team put the clamps on San Antonio defensively. It grew the Dallas lead to eight, and they never looked back.

Porzingis looked activated through the whole game. He was affecting shots on the defensive end and fighting for rebounds. He led the team in points and rebounds with 28 and 14 respectively, with four of those boards coming on the offensive end.

From Rusty to Rewarding

Dallas entered the All Star break on a high note — a win against the Thunder that capped off an 8-2 stretch of games. The hope was they’d hit the ground running, fully rested after the time off, but the first quarter felt a bit disjointed. They had 11 of their 14 turnovers in the first half and went into the tunnel down seven. No Maverick player reached double digit points in the first half and their leading scorer was WIllie Cauley-Stein with eight. Not exactly how you draw it up.

The team persevered, however, and found their footing the second half. Doncic and Porzingis came alive on offense, and the league leading defense from December that was looking more and more like a fluke as the Mavs floundered through January made an appearance in this game. Dallas kept the buckets coming with consistency and completely smothered San Antonio during a crucial six-minute stretch where the Spurs didn’t make a single field goal and netted just two measly points on a pair of DeRozan free throws. The late game execution is a sight for sore eyes for those who remember not long ago when the Mavs were notoriously bad in crunch time.

Second chance points for me, not for thee

Perhaps the biggest difference maker in this game wasn’t contributions from a single player, but what the team was able to do on the boards. San Antonio isn’t a particularly big team, and Dallas took advantage to the tune of a 21-rebound edge. That huge disparity fueled the Mavericks second chance points opportunity in a game where the three point shots they rely on weren’t dropping (the team was 13-of-40 from deep, 32.5%).

However, Dallas piled on 21 second chance points to San Antonio’s two. In a game where everything else was so close, Dallas managed to find a thread they could pull on to unravel the Spurs.

It’s a huge win for Dallas who are now tied with San Antonio in the division as measured by games back, and they secure the head-to-head tie breaker.

Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.