Saturday night’s 17-point come-from-behind 108-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers was one for the history books for the Dallas Mavericks. It was the largest deficit the team has overcome this season. Their smothering second half performance, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the superb contributions from a number of players.
Luka Doncic found a way to beat the Lakers’ traps and double-teams, shredding the Lakers’ defense with adroit passes. Dwight Powell broke free as the roll man for dunk after dunk, abusing Andre Drummond. It’s Dorian Finney-Smith who perhaps had the best all-around game for Dallas, though, as he continues to play the best basketball of his career.
“We came out with that spark that we needed,” Finney-Smith said, summarizing the second half of the game. “That second quarter they played good and the third quarter we came out and hit them first. We just had a great defensive fourth quarter.”
Against the Lakers, he poured in 21 points, seven rebounds, and two dimes to help the Mavericks’ comeback effort. His streak of hot shooting continued as well. He knocked down 61.5 percent of his field goal attempts and 57.1 percent of his shots from deep. In his last five games, Finney-Smith is averaging 60.4 percent shooting overall and 60 percent on three-pointers. He was also a team-best plus-28.
His 21-point outburst was the third game of scoring 20 or more points in his last 11. He’s only scored 20-plus points two other times in his entire career! The Mavericks are now 4-1 all-time when he reaches that mark.
On a night when Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jalen Brunson were cold, Finney-Smith’s outside shooting provided a spark. He knocked down right corner threes and shots from above the break, keeping the Lakers’ defense scrambling. Two clutch shots in the third quarter came from these locations. In the fourth quarter, he punctuated the Mavericks’ comeback dominance with a put back dunk on a missed JJ Redick layup.
He put down two emphatic dunks against the Lakers in their two-game mini-series. Not only that, he got into the head of Drummond after a play in which Drummond appeared to shove Finney-Smith off of him. They were both assessed technical fouls. Dallas outscored L.A. 45-25 after the altercation.
While Finney-Smith isn’t one to bask in his recent stellar play, he understands that he’s helping the team achieve its long-term goal. By beating the Lakers twice, Dallas is now in sole possession of the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. They’re also within a game and a half of the Lakers, who sit in fifth. Getting the win Saturday goes a long way to securing their playoff seeding and avoiding the play-in tournament.
“It feels good, especially when we know what we’re trying to do, especially with the standings and stuff like that,” Finney-Smith said. “We just gotta take it one game at a time and get as many wins as we can.”