That was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game. The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Golden State Warriors 130-92 at the Chase Center in San Francisco Tuesday night. The Mavericks just didn’t show up, which happens sometimes over the course of a long season.
Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 25 points, and also had eight rebounds. He finished with only three assists, but probably could have had thirty or forty if his teammates hit the open shots he created. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga led the Warriors with 22 points, a great performance off the bench.
The Mavericks let the Warriors jump out to a nine point lead, and by halftime they were down by 13. They didn’t do anything to stop the bleeding in the third quarter, and went into the fourth quarter down 20 points. The Mavericks only scored 14 in the fourth as Jason Kidd emptied the bench.
There wasn’t just the poor play on the court, either. Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Kristaps Porzingis was ejected for kicking a ball into the stands. It was a night to forget.
Read on to learn how it all happened:
The Warriors dared the Mavericks to make 3’s, and they couldn’t
Golden State packed the paint and dared players like Porzingis (29% 3-point shooter on the year), Jalen Brunson (32%), and Hardaway (33%) to beat them. They did not. Dorian Finney-Smith, normally reliable from deep (37%), went 0-for-3. Only Maxi Kleber shot well from behind the arc (2-for-3). Luka also shot well on 3-pointers, going 4-for-7.
The Mavericks have been struggling to hit 3-pointers all season. They’re 26th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage. So far it hasn’t affected them because their defense has covered up the poor shooting. Tonight, that didn’t happen.
The Mavericks’ vaunted defense finally slipped up
Dallas had only given up more than a hundred points three times in January. Tonight, Golden State scored 130, the most the Mavericks have given up all season. The Warriors hit 3-pointers at a rate other opponents haven’t been able to replicate against the Dallas.
Simply put, the Mavericks’ have been getting good luck with opponents’ 3-point shooting.
In my last article I wrote about why Mavs defense is improved. But the question is still how improved? Can they end the season as top 5 like now, or stay in top 10?— Iztok Franko (@iztok_franko) January 22, 2022
A lot of good stuff happening since Dec 10th,but there also has been some 'luck' with opponent 3-point shooting pic.twitter.com/lrGmE36JcW
That luck evaporated tonight, with the Warriors making almost 40% of their 3-pointers. This was with Steph Curry shooting only 2-of-10 from deep. Was it just a one-off situation, with one of the better shooting teams in the league having a good night, or is it the beginning of a trend? Only time will tell.
The Warriors also moved the ball well (31 assists on 49 made baskets), got good looks from the corner (9-of-16 on corner threes) and attacked Luka all night. Luka is underrated as a defender, but he’s not the type of player who can carry the offense AND be a defensive force on the other end. That’s too much to ask of all but the most freakish athletes in the NBA, like prime LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Luka didn’t get help again
This game was awfully reminiscent of last season, when Luka would carry the weight on offense but get no help from the other starters or anyone off the bench. Luka scored 25 points. Brunson put up 11 points, the only other starter to score in double digits. Hardaway scored nine points in only ten minutes. He might have contributed more if not for his injury.
But Porzingis only scored nine points on 4-of-15 shooting. He, Finney-Smith, and Kleber only scored 25 points combined. The Warriors got 29 points combined from rookie Kuminga and Gary Payton II. This has to change. The Mavericks can’t compete against the best teams in the NBA by relying on Luka to score 40 points while the rest of the roster tries hard. The trade deadline is in 16 days.
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.