The Dallas Mavericks forcefully beat the Denver Nuggets Friday night, 127-99. The visitors were greatly short-handed, missing Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon.
An opponent missing the top of their roster has spelled trouble for the Mavericks this season, but not this time. After a slow start to the game the home team put on a scoring barrage and left little doubt for the win.
In short, the Mavericks did what they were supposed to do — something they haven’t always delivered on this season with opportunities of easy wins. Friday night was a nice change of pace. Here are a few numbers that jumped out from the game.
67: First half points after the first five minutes
The start to the game felt eerily similar to every other gimme-game this season. There was little rhythm to the game, and the starting group was once again slow out of the gate.
At the seven minute mark of the first quarter the Mavericks found themselves down 9-6. When the first half ended they were up 73-55. This surge all but sealed the game and was the sort of effort we’ve rarely seen this season. The team shot nearly 60 percent from the floor on the game, moved the ball well (29 assists), and showed the sort of effort needed after dropping the game to the Houston Rockets.
50: Luka Doncic career triple doubles
Early in the fourth quarter Doncic notched his 10th rebound of the game, giving him his 50th career triple double. He became just the 10th player in NBA history to reach such a feat, and is the second fastest to 50 behind Oscar Robertson (edging out Magic Johnson by just one game).
Doncic was dynamic, after sitting out Wednesday’s loss to the Rockets. He finished 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Another triple-double milestone for Luka Doncic: He’s the fifth player in NBA history with 25 of the 30-point variety.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 19, 2022
A list of the all-time leaders from @ESPNStatsInfo: https://t.co/6SVeb434sA pic.twitter.com/jvYqAIvfFR
28: Christian Wood season high
The Mavericks big man was athletic and assertive all night, following up his 26-point effort Wednesday with a season high 28 points Friday night. Wood was hot from the start, with a sequence of dunks and threes, dropping 13 points in six first quarter minutes.
His offensive energy remains palpable, and the chemistry with Doncic continues to grow.
3: non-clutch games
It is hard to believe but this is just the third game this season that the Mavericks did not have to play any clutch minutes. Whether hard fought or coughing up a lead late, the team has already played 12 games this season that ended in clutch minutes.
There may not be much to learn from a game where the opponent is missing three of its top players, but it was nice to see the Mavericks assert themselves in this way. The hope is that level of focus and attention to detail can be carried to similar circumstances. And as the Mavericks face the Nuggets again Sunday, it’s possible they can put that to the test.
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