I don’t know about you, but I’ve already forgotten about the Mavericks’ painful 2-point loss to Phoenix Wednesday. After Saturday’s exceptional 41 point blowout, there’s positive feelings and excitement to last us the rest of the year. What in the world did we just witness?
Not only did the Mavs win in a confident fashion over the Grizzlies, Luka Dončić was on fire, Christian Wood had his second 25 point game off the bench, but even more striking, the two of them had a connection you don’t see every day in basketball.
A connection like this is something everybody following the Mavericks have been hoping for, might I say dreaming of, for Luka. A second star next to Luka Dončić, a potential All Star, who can actually both spread the floor with his shooting, but also connect with Luka on alley-oops consistently. When that connection sets in, magic happens.
The thing is, when you’ve played long enough with a teammate, it’s almost like you can read their mind. They know where you will be next and you know exactly where the pass will go. When that connection hits, it doesn’t just look like magic, it feels like it. There’s no better feeling on the court, which I think both Luka and Wood would attest to, given their faces after this successful connection.
Luka & CWood x Father Stretch My Hands pic.twitter.com/DewGfQUNei— All Things Mavs (@All_Things_Mavs) October 23, 2022
But Luka and Wood haven’t played together everyday for years, running the same schemes hundreds of times. They have barely played together at all. If you think about it, it’s only been about a month since they met as teammates at training camp.
But will they be able to keep this up? The doubters, pessimists and outside observers might ask - it has only been two games. With what we have seen as of now, there’s no question in my mind that this team is better than last year’s. Whatever that may translate to at the end of the season.
Something special is brewing in Dallas, and it’s gotten the whole team excited. The offense has been amazing, but the defense is also still at a very high level most of the time. And that’s exactly where you see whether the chemistry on a team is working or not. Are they talking? Are they supporting each other and do they have each other’s back or is the weak side a little wobbly?
The Mavs were pressuring Memphis on defense, forcing steals, scoring in transition. Read that again, the Mavericks of Dallas were scoring in transition multiple times! The energy was amazing within the team, which led to some great runs, steals and dunks. But the fans were on fire too, so much so that Wood even called it a playoff atmosphere.
Christian Wood: "I haven't really experienced a playoff atmosphere, but today was amazing. I liked it. I loved it. I don't know if you could tell, but I was having fun."— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) October 23, 2022
And the rest of us watching around the world, or locals in their living rooms, on their bed or wherever you watch your team, felt it. We felt something special happen in the home opener, we felt a special team coming together to show us all that magic can happen in Dallas when everybody buys into the culture. When everybody believes, special things happen, as Luka would say. And he’d be right, because this team is special and if they believe as well, I wouldn’t be surprised if they show us that they’re even better than last year.
Memphis was tired against Dallas, and so this may not be the full picture of a game between the two. But if this connection continues, if this beautiful chemistry keeps showing up for this team, I bet I won’t be the only one with great expectations to these Mavericks.