The Dallas Mavericks do Dallas Mavericks things against a short-handed team as they lose the 2nd night of a back-to-back to the Washington Wizards 113-105. The Wizards were without Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal going into the game. Knowing this Dallas team’s history of underestimating opponents, we should have known we were in for a long night.
Kyle Kuzma led the way for the Wizards with 36 points. Rui Hachimura added 23 points off the bench into their winning formula on the night. Spencer Dinwiddie had an excellent follow-up from his performance in Orlando Wednesday night, with a team-high 33 points, including 7-12 from three. Luka Dončić finished the game with 22 points on 8-22 shooting from the floor. The Mavs were outscored 52-36 points in the paint and shot and awful 61.9% on their free throws, including Luka shooting 3-9 on the night.
The story of the first quarter was a hot start from beyond the arc. The Mavericks shot 7-13 from deep. Spencer Dinwiddie carried over his 29-point performance from Orlando with 12 points in the first. Luka, who leads the league in first-quarter scoring, didn’t have his first bucket until the 5:00 mark. After one, the Mavericks were up 34-28.
The Wizards overcame a 14-point deficit in the first to take a 40-39 lead after a Will Barton pullup at the 9:01 mark. Frank Ntilikina made his season debut as he checked in at 7:32 left in the 2nd quarter. Frank went 0-3 with two rebounds and one assist during his opening stint. Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to provide instant offense off the bench for the Mavericks, with 10 points, including three threes. Kyle Kuzma was 7-11 from the field with 18 points at halftime. Spencer Dinwiddie also had 18 points to lead the Mavs as they held off the Wizards 61-58 at the half.
In Orlando, the Mavericks forced 19 turnovers which they only converted to 10 points. Against the Wizards, the Mavericks caused nine turnovers in the first half, which turned into 15 Dallas points.
The Mavericks forced 4 team fouls at 1:43 into the 3rd quarter yet only shot four free throws following that early gift from the Wizards. The game was tied at 74-74 after a Rui Hachimura 3-pointer. Luka hit a wild rainbow three at 3:41 but picked up a technical foul less than a minute later. After the technical, the Wizards finished the 3rd quarter on an 8-3 run and took a four-point lead of 87-83 going into the fourth quarter.
The start of the fourth quarter was a disaster, to say the least. The Wizards started the frame on an 11-3 run and quickly established a twelve-point. Once the Wizards were up double digits, the closest the Mavs would come to closing the gap was nine. The Mavericks played lethargic basketball to end the game and walk away from Washington DC with another loss, falling to the Wizards, 113-105
Unserious basketball team
The Mavericks have this annoying habit of not taking games seriously, especially if the game or opponent isn’t on a big stage. Understandably, the Mavericks were playing on a back-to-back, but the Wizards were down their two best players, and the Mavericks still didn’t take this night seriously.
The defense can’t always be this bad, can it?
It’s difficult to understand how the Mavericks can keep losing to teams without their best players, but what’s worse is how it’s happening. Teams are cooking the Mavericks in the paint, and that’s making everything else they’re trying defensively seem worse. There’s got to be some worry for Maxi Kleber, for example, a guy who’s been so valuable to the defense for years, looking this out of it on rotations. Perhaps it’s just a communication and repetition thing for the whole team, but it’s ugly right now. Getting creamed in the paint by Daniel Gafford is extremely frustrating to watch.
Luka won’t make it to Christmas
During pregame, Jason Kidd addressed the media about Luka’s usage this season.
Asked Jason Kidd about Luka's insane usage rate to start the season. It's a concern. "People will say he's 23," Kidd said. "But, he's human." At this rate, Kidd said, Dončić may hit a physical/mental wall around Christmas.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) November 10, 2022
Knowing this comment is coming directly from your head coach is not the Christmas present I wanted or asked for. But, let’s hope Luka Doncic can defy all odds and deliver a Christmas miracle; otherwise, it could be a long year ahead for the Mavericks.
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