The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 137-96 in the Mavericks’ home opener. Fans watching and in attendance may have felt some trepidation after Dallas gave up a 20-point lead in their first game against Phoenix, but this one was never in question. In the first quarter, Dallas scored on 12 straight possessions and Luka Doncic scored 21 of Dallas’ 39 points in the frame. Doncic finished the game with 32 points, even while sitting for the entire 4th quarter with the game well in hand. Christian Wood also contributed 25 points and a number of highlight dunks for Dallas. Ja Morant led the way for a tired Grizzlies squad with 20 points. This was Memphis’ third game in four nights, and the second game of a back-to-back.
After letting the season opener slip through their fingers, Dallas left no doubt Saturday night, never wavering after roughshod over a gasses Memphis squad. They won the opening frame 39-to-17 and never looked back. The offense was humming all night – Dallas shot over 43% from deep as a team and 50% from the floor – but the defense that Coach Jason Kidd and the team hung their hat on during the regular season last year was also on display: Dallas held the Grizzlies to just 36 first-half points and under 100 for the night.
Christian Wood makes good
In a game they lost by two against Phoenix, every point was crucial. That’s what made Christian Wood missing the “easy” ones all the more painful. After a 3-of-10 debut from the line that Wood himself called “inexcusable” after the game, the jitters seem to be worked out. He hit all five of the free throws he took in the first quarter, and finished with a solid 12-of-14 night from the stripe.
Ideally, Wood will continue to shoot it like he did tonight from the free throw line but make or miss, it’s a positive sign that he’s started the season with two games in which he earned double-digit free throws. And that’s still coming off the bench, mind you. Time will tell how much longer Wood continues to be a bench player.
Luka Doncic and Christian Wood put in work in a short amount of time. Doncic had 10 assists to go with his 32 points and was just three rebounds shy of the first triple-double of the season. For double-digit rebounds, you’d have to go to Wood, who hauled in 12 boards, four of which were on the offensive end.
Already, this duo looks to be in sync. The two connected on a couple lobs this game, one of which featured some fancy ball handling by Luka before the lob the Wood finished with a pretty one-handed jam.
It’s early, but Wood looks to be the kind of big Dallas has longed to partner with Doncic. Not only does he keep the floor spread with his shooting so Doncic can operate off the dribble in the lane, but he’s also been putting in work on the glass and earning trips to the line.
An NBA Debut
With the game essentially over after the first quarter, the rest of the game became something of a Jaden Hardy watch. What kind of lead would Dallas need in the fourth for the rookie to get some run?
Well, with the lead pushing 40, it proved more than enough. Hardy came in and played the final six minutes of the game. Hardy comes into the league with the label of being an unhesitant shooter, and we saw that tonight with the rookie getting up three shots in his six minutes. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get one to fall, so we’re still waiting for his first NBA points. Still, he looked every bit the confident shooter the team was expecting.
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