The Dallas Mavericks closed out the preseason with a 115-101 victory against the Utah Jazz. The game was rather sloppy with the Mavericks struggling to hit from distance in the first half despite getting fantastic looks. They finished 6-of-24 from three but Luka Doncic still led them to a 54-53 lead at half time. The Mavericks continued to play the primary rotation through three quarters as coach Jason Kidd used this as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
The team took a slim lead into the fourth before the reserves blew the game wide open. The Mavericks never looked back after opening up a double-digit lead early in the fourth. It is important to remember that the results of preseason games do not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but the process that leads to those results can. Here are the things we learned.
Luka Doncic is in shape and the NBA should be very scared
Doncic missed some shots from distance tonight as he finished 2-of-9 from three, but he still scored 24 points and shot 7-of-9 from inside the arc. Doncic has come into the season as the MVP favorite each of the last two seasons, but slow starts have torpedoed his chances. That will not be the case this season as he is already cooking with gasoline.
Christian Wood is going to get paid a lot of money this offseason
Wood has been something of an NBA vagabond as he has moved from franchise to franchise. But he has finally found his basketball heaven as he was genetically engineered to run a pick and roll with Doncic. This was by far the worst game of the preseason for him but the pick and roll chemistry with Doncic is already evident. There was an especially impressive sequence in the third quarter where he had a block and back-to-back buckets including a pick and pop three.
Spencer Dinwiddie is going to be frustrating
Preseason results do not matter, especially for players with as many skins on the wall as Dinwiddie. So, the poor 1-of-8 shooting performance for three points does not matter that much. The process that resulted in that shooting illuminates a tendency to randomly forget how to play basketball that will be frustrating to watch given how important Dinwiddie is to the Mavericks.
Overall, the Mavericks finished the preseason 2-1 and that 66 percent winning percentage is representative of how well the Mavericks played. The defense was concerning at times and the Mavericks need Dinwiddie to be a star because they don’t have a third ball handler, but all is right with Doncic and that means most is right with the Mavericks.
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