The Dallas Mavericks defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-97. This is Dallas’ fourth straight win, and it comes at the expense of a very short-handed Cavaliers team. The Mavericks jumped out to a quick 11-point lead thanks to the hot start from Josh Richardson and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Cavaliers fought back and Dallas led by nine after the first quarter. The Mavericks’ lead did not waiver much, and stayed around 10 until 10:05 left in the third quarter. This is when Luka Doncic was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul on Collin Sexton, and also when the game turned heavily in Dallas’ favor. The Mavericks outscored Cleveland 56-30 from that point on, and won the game by 27.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led all scorers with 25 points, while Josh Richardson wasn’t far behind with 20. Dwight Powell had 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and a career-high 4 blocks in 27 minutes off the bench. Collin Sexton had 24 points for Cleveland.
Boban Marjanovic made his first three pointer of the season with 1:19 left in the game.
No Luka? No problem!
After a foul on Luka Doncic was reviewed for a possible shot clock violation early in the third quarter, the referees found that there was no violation, and, in fact, awarded Doncic a flagrant 2 foul and the Slovenian All-Star was ejected from the game. It wasn’t easily spotted during real-time, but when you see another angle, Doncic clearly hit Collin Sexton in the groin:
Luka gets ejected for hitting Collin Sexton pic.twitter.com/op2KXrPAdT— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2021
The Mavericks were up by 11 when Doncic left the game, and although logic would tell you that that number would decrease in his absence, that was not the case. The Mavericks won the game by 27 and were up by as much as 30 in the second half. The shot making of Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the late third and early fourth quarter ballooned the Mavericks’ lead to 30 and Dallas never looked back.
Doncic will not be suspended for the next game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is still red hot
After posting games of 42 and 36 points in the last two weeks, Tim Hardaway Jr continued the best offensive stretch of his career tonight in Cleveland. He was big in the first quarter and helped Dallas develop an early 22-11 lead. He was big again after Luka Doncic went out and helped Dallas develop their 30 point lead. With 25 points tonight, Hardaway Jr. has now scored 20+ in four straight games. He shot 9-of-13 from the floor including 7-of-11 from three.
Domination in the paint
The only thing more impressive than the margin of victory was the difference in paint points. Dallas outscored Cleveland 54-32 in the paint, and even that doesn’t tell the tale of how easy some baskets came for the Mavericks. Early in the first quarter, Luka Doncic quite literally walked Dean Wade from the three point line down to the block and simply made a layup right over him. There was a sequence in the second quarter where Dallas dunked the ball on three consecutive possessions. Great cutting and pick-and-roll play led to easy looks for the Mavericks, but the bottom line is that Cleveland provided almost no resistance at the rim. Jarrett Allen looked uninterested in blocking anything, and Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao stood no chance. Dallas shot 65 percent on two-point shots, and had seven players shoot over 50 percent on at least four attempts.
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.