The Grizzlies scored 57 of their points in the second half as the game got a little loose both ways. Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell combined to play stifling interior defense and the Grizzlies just could not hit shots from the outside.
The team did a fantastic job of gang rebounding to keep the Grizzlies close in the rebounding battle until the game was out of hand.
Here are some thoughts.
Luka Doncic is back
Luka’s struggles, relative only to his own impossibly high standards, have been a huge story of this season for the Mavericks. Luka has admitted to coming to camp overweight but he appears to have lost a little weight and his game has improved.
His shooting still has not fully returned as he was just 2-of-7 from three tonight, but he was once again a volume free throw shooter as he went 9-of-12 from the stripe.
This is not the stats rundown but his overall line of 37 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block was amazing. It would certainly have been a triple double if the Mavericks had made many shots themselves.
Kristaps Porzingis is a defensive weapon
The most disappointing part of Porzingis becoming a liability defensively last season is that he didn’t simply change from an average defender to a liability. He changed from a really good rim protector to a liability which is a much bigger fall.
Porzingis will always have his detractors and his share of awkward moments but he has become a force again as his five first half blocks showed.
The Mavericks are the Suns to the Grizzlies’ Mavericks
Sometimes through a combination of matchups and luck one team just has another team’s number. That appears to be the case in this particular matchup. The Mavericks are now 7-3 against the Grizzlies over the last three seasons.
The Suns have the Mavericks number because they have the ability to neutralize the Mavericks strengths while exploiting their weaknesses. The same is true in this matchup but with the Mavericks neutralizing the Grizzlies strengths while exploiting their weaknesses. The Grizzlies are an elite fast break team that relies on creating turnovers and forcing pace. The Mavericks don’t turn the ball over and Luka is perhaps the best guard in the world at making sure games are played at the slow pace he prefers.
This was a fantastic win, putting the Mavericks in great position to potentially make up some ground with an easy upcoming schedule after the Warriors game.
Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.