The Mavericks cruised to another victory against the Cavaliers following their win Friday night, completing the season sweep of Cleveland. Dallas jumped out to an early double-digit lead which they maintained throughout the game. Luka Doncic was ejected early in the third quarter for a blow to the groin area of Collin Sexton, but Jalen Brunson and Co. were still able to push the lead further and give everyone some rest.
Here are a few stats that make sense of what happened:
16: The Mavericks won the post-ejection minutes by 16 points.
The only point throughout the game where a Mavericks victory might have been in doubt was likely the moment Doncic was ejected, with 10:07 remaining in the third. The Mavericks were up by 11 at the time, but with Doncic carrying much of the load offensively, someone else would have to take the leadership role. This was especially true given some of the past Doncic-less losses to lottery-bound teams like the Thunder.
Instead of letting the Cavaliers get back into the game, the Mavericks role players found an offensive burst, finishing the quarter up 26. This included a fantastic stretch to close the quarter in which the Mavericks hit four three’s, a welcome sight considering how Dallas sometimes tends to relax towards the end of quarters.
71.4%: The duo of Tim Hardaway and Jalen Brunson were 10-14 from three.
During the season, we saw some staggering highs and lows from the one-two punch of Hardaway and Brunson. During February, Brunson put himself into serious Sixth-Man of the Year consideration with one of the best field goal percentages for guards. But each had their struggles as well, with Brunson cooling off and Hardaway going through an extended shooting slump. THJ has broken out of it as of late, averaging more than 27 points over the last five games with some impressive shooting performances, and he followed that up tonight with a 7-11 performance from three.
27: No Maverick played more than 27 minutes tonight.
As with the previous Cavaliers game, the Mavericks were able to keep the load on every player low by dominating their opponent early and giving the rookies some extended run late. Doncic only played 22 minutes before the ejection, but it’s unlikely he would’ve played many more given the Mavericks lead. In a condensed season where rest is elusive, these types of minute totals are key to prevent the natural wear and tear of a long NBA game.
4: Boban Marjanovic hit more three-pointers than 4 starters.
Marjanovic has seen limited and matchup-specific minutes this season, but with the Mavericks up comfortably, he was able to get some playing time with the rookies. And he made it count, hitting a three which I’d consider one of the more impressive displays of coordination and skill for a player at that size.
This is especially true considering starters Finney-Smith, Richardson, Cauley-Stein, and Doncic hit a combined zero. But that’s really indicative of how this team functions: individual player inconsistencies can be mitigated by finding the hot hand, which tonight happened to be Hardaway.
The Mavericks visit the Grizzlies in an important game Tuesday night. It can be viewed on League Pass or on Bally Sports.
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.