The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz 103-100. The Mavericks came out sluggish and the Jazz threatened to run them off the floor. The Jazz opened a double digit lead early, primarily by attacking Luka Doncic.
Doncic was extremely passive as he collected two quick fouls. The Jazz’s egalitarian offense meant that there was no safe space to hide Doncic while he played the remainder of the quarter.
The game evened and became a bit of a slug fest until the fourth quarter. The Mavericks opened the fourth quarter on an 18-8 run to change a 78-74 deficit into a 92-86 lead. The Mavericks were able to hold on from there. Here are the stats to know.
33: Combined plus/minus for Josh Green and Dwight Powell
Plus/minus is a fickle stat, especially in a one game sample as many things out of a players control can determine it. That being said, the energy Powell and Green bring is palpable. The Mavericks can get a bit stale at times. Green and Powell’s effort and energy can have a catalytic effect on the team and that helps.
21 and 10: Number of points and rebounds for Christian Wood
Wood’s passing has been a revelation this season, but the game changed when Wood decided that Rudy Gay could not guard him. Wood willed his way to the rim repeatedly. There will be complaints that Wood did not finish the game. He should be in the closing lineup, but he had played for essentially an entire quarter until he came out. This was a step in the right direction.
4: Number of steals for Spencer Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie did not suddenly channel the spirit of Alvin Robertson to become a defensive menace. Some of these were passes the Jazz threw directly to Dinwiddie. But this was a good example of the all around game that Dinwiddie played. He struggled with his jumper for much of the game, but he made a big three to push the lead to 92-86.
He also chipped in four rebounds and five assists. Perhaps most importantly, he was an important part of the energy lineup the Mavericks played to open the fourth. His energy is not as frenetic as Green’s, but he uses his own tempo and ability to attack the rim to help fuel those lineups.
33 and 11: Number of points and assists for Doncic
Doncic was not as good as these stats indicate, but it is a testament to his greatness that a win in which he compiled these numbers can be nitpicked. Doncic remains an incredible offensive engine that bears a tremendous load.
Overall, the Mavericks still have things to figure out, but they will do so. Reggie Bullock was coming off the bench and struggling mightily at this point last season. The more wins the Mavericks can bank while figuring things out, the better. Because once they do figure those things out, they will be incredibly difficult to stop.
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