The Mavs entered into tonight’s game in desperate need of a win. They were backsliding, and backsliding fast. Thankfully, Dallas didn’t have a contender coming to town. They had the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons didn’t let the Mavs run away with this one, though. It was actually a pretty ugly win. The Mavs started out slow (nothing new) and had to rely on the Pistons being outgunned and a whole lot of Luka Doncic. Here are three numbers from the ugly, yet timely, win.
6: The number of turnovers the Mavs committed
Dallas is one of the better teams in the league in terms of how much they turn the ball over. A lot of that is thanks to Luka handling the rock and making good decisions for the majority of the game, but the other guys (and the coaching staff) deserve credit too. They average 12.1 turnovers per game (good for third-best in the league), but tonight, they only committed six.
Again, a large part of that is because Luka was handling the ball for the majority of the game and only had three turnovers himself, but everyone else did their job as well, especially Jalen Brunson. Brunson had a stellar 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field to go along with five assists and zero turnovers.
The Pistons aren’t exactly one of the top defensive teams in the league, so everything should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s still nice to see the Mavs take care of the ball so well. A sloppier game from Dallas could have resulted in a drastically different game.
33: The number of minutes Luka Doncic played
Normally, this wouldn’t be a talking point, but tonight involves a different set of circumstances.
It’s well-documented that the Mavs have been struggling lately, so coming into a home game against one of the worst teams in the league where they had two full days of rest was the perfect storm for the Mavs to take control early, never look back, and give their main guys some rest ahead of tomorrow’s matchup with the Lakers. Simple as that, right? Wrong.
The Mavs’ slow start meant they would have to fight like crazy in the second quarter to regain the lead (which they did). Normally, this would’ve been fine. The Mavs could’ve extended the lead in the third quarter and rested Luka and Co. during the fourth. But again, that’s not how it worked out.
For large portions of the third and fourth quarters, the Mavs played like they did at the beginning of the game, and it allowed the Pistons to keep it close, thus forcing Luka to play a full, physical game on the front end of a back-to-back. Sigh.
2: The rating I give Luka’s new haircut on a scale of 1-10
It appears as though Luka took full advantage of those aforementioned two days off by getting a fresh haircut. Not a bad idea! Unless, of course, you go with what Luka went with. Then it’s a horrible, horrible idea. Let’s take a look:
This is a highlight of a Luka dunk, but I’m only putting this here so you can get a good look at his haircut. It basically looks the same as it always does, but with a gnarly, 360 splash fade mixed in.
It’s not good. It’s bad. I wish it didn’t exist.
I still love Luka more than I love any other human on this planet, but the haircut makes it slightly more difficult. Thankfully, it’ll grow back.
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.