The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors 99-82 on Wednesday night in Dallas. With Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey retirement ceremony looming over the game, the Mavericks came out and beat one of the best teams in the league.
The first half was a sloppy affair, and neither team could get their offense going. The Mavericks were able to hit a few more shots than the Warriors, however, and went into the half with the lead.
Everyone braced for a third quarter Warriors run, but it never came. The Dallas defense was stifling (more on that below) and harassed the Warriors at every turn. The Mavericks finally got their 3-point shooting to come around (38% in the second half, 50% in the fourth quarter) and they pulled away to get the win.
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 26 points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 17. Gary Payton II led both teams in rebounding with 11.
Here are three things from the game:
Dorian Finney-Smith had a game
Did you have Finney-Smith outplaying Steph Curry on your bingo card for tonight? Finney-Smith played out of his mind tonight. He scored 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc. He grabbed nine boards, three on the offensive glass, and picked up two blocks. Finney-Smith was all over the floor tonight, and his defensive energy helped keep the Mavericks in the lead when the shots weren’t falling.
Then of course he took over in the second half, going 4-of-4 from deep. It was just an incredible performance from Finney-Smith. The Mavericks role players haven’t been hitting 3’s this season — except Finney-Smith. Let’s hope it continues.
The offense is stuck in quick sand
The Mavericks were bailed out by hot shooting in the fourth quarter, but for most of the game the offense was putrid. It’s really painful to watch this team play offense sometimes. There’s a lot of reasons for that. Luka is out of shape and can’t get to the rim. As mentioned above, role players brought in for their shooting can’t shoot anymore. No one on the team can get to the rim.
But more than that, there just seems to be no rules or concepts beyond “move around more than the previous two years.” Guys are constantly just standing in the lane when other players drive. Luka was parked in the corner for several plays this game and just stood there. The spacing is poor. Role players are asked to do things they don’t have the skills to do. Jason Kidd needs to abandon whatever this offense is, or the front office needs to find players that can execute his vision. The Mavericks can’t keep relying on hot shooting by themselves and poor shooting by opponents for wins.
The defense is for real
The Mavericks swarmed Curry all game, holding him to 1-of-10 shooting in the first half, and 1-of-9 on 3-pointers for the game. Every time he got to the rim he was met by help defense and got very few easy baskets, if any. Draymond Green was silenced, and if you forgot he was on the floor, you’re not alone. The Mavericks have abandoned the drop coverage they played in the past and are more aggressive. You see it in the deflected passes and the contested shots. There are no more open midrange shots.
They put on quite a performance tonight against one of the better offensive teams in the NBA. I thought the Warriors’ off-ball movement and constant cutting would give the Mavericks fits, but instead, they gummed up the game and made just moving around the floor tough for the Warriors. They were able to keep Curry in check long enough to find their own shots and pick up the win.
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