The Mavericks got a balanced performance across the board. Luka Doncic led all scorers with 22 points, and also picked up a triple-double along the way, adding 14 rebounds and 14 assists. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine led the Bulls in scoring with 20 each.
The Bulls threatened to take control of the game in the first half, going up as much as 11 in the second quarter. But the Mavericks stormed back to close the half, going on a 9-0 run to pull within one point at halftime.
In the second half, the Mavericks started trapping DeRozan in order to make the Bulls’ supporting cast make shots, and they didn’t. Chicago’s shooting fell apart, as they went 4-of-18 from behind the arc in the second half. DeRozan played a good second half, but no one else helped out. LaVine only scored six points in the second half.
Here are three things from the game:
Josh Green had himself a game
Green seemed to be everywhere this game. He scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and even hit a 3-pointer and a free throw. He also finished with an assist and six rebounds. Green came alive in the second half, scoring 11 of his points in the third and fourth quarter. The 18 points is Green’s career high, immediately breaking his career high 17 from Friday night against the Houston Rockets.
Green’s energy seems to surprise opponents. There were at least two instances where he caught an alley-oop on a break simply because the Bulls didn’t think he would run past them as fast as he did. He’s not exceptionally athletic, but he moves at full speed at all times. Sometimes it leads to mistakes, but mostly it creates problems for opponents.
Maxi Kleber — deadly shooter
Kleber tied his career-high 3-pointers with six made tonight. He took nine shots from deep overall, and scored 18 points. It’s the type of game the Mavericks need from Kleber more often. One of my main gripes with him is he doesn’t pull the trigger on 3-pointers often enough. He only takes four per game. Kleber is a good enough shooter to put up six shots per game from behind the arc.
Too often he gets an open 3-pointer on a kick out, only to pump fake once, hesitate, and pass it away. He’s got the length and release to shoot over most closeouts. Kleber needs to accept that he might have some 1-for-8 nights and just shoot. More often there’ll be nights like tonight, and that raises the Mavericks competitive floor.
Luka grinds his way to good box scores
Coming into the season out of shape and nicked up by injuries all year, Luka hasn’t been fun to watch most nights. He doesn’t get to the basket and nothing seems to come easy for him. Regardless, he’s still putting up impressive stats.
He picks up triple-doubles, or nearly does, without you really noticing. He rarely catches fire and goes on a run. Luka just steadily runs the offense and grinds his way into baskets. He hits a few 3-pointers, gets to the line a little, and manufactures midrange baskets off of post ups and floaters. His teammates are finally hitting shots, so the assists come a little more easily.
At some point in the playoffs, the Mavericks will need the Luka from the last two seasons. Supernova Luka. But until then, this version will do most nights. He’s raising the floor of a team that otherwise would struggle to score.
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.