The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Denver Nuggets, 98-97, Sunday night in Dallas. The loss drops the Mavericks’ record to 9-7, while the win brings the Nuggets’ to 10-6. Dallas sits at ninth in the tightly-packed Western Conference.
The Mavericks came into the game with noticeably low energy against a Nuggets squad missing Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon. They had trouble staying in front of the Nuggets, especially Bones Hyland. Dallas refused to let Denver stretch a lead out too far, though, keeping things close. The half ended...oddly to say the least. Luka Doncic hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Mavericks up by five. But on review, the officials determined that Doncic stepped out of bounds with two seconds left on the clock.
Both teams were already in the locker room, however, and rather than bring them back out, the officials decided to play the final two seconds of the first half immediately before the start of the second half. The Nuggets inbounded the ball to Vlatko Cancar, who hit a half-court heave to put Denver up by one.
When the second half began, less than a minute later, the Mavericks continued their low energy play. The Nuggets kept attacking, and the teams traded the lead throughout the rest of the half. The Mavericks looked in control with a 1:27 left in the game, leading 97-93, but a couple of Hyland free throws made it 97-95. Josh Green missed a corner three that would’ve put the game away, and then Hyland found Michael Porter Jr. for three that put Denver up 98-97. Doncic missed a 35-footer at the buzzer that would’ve won the game.
Here are three thoughts from the game:
Josh Green played a great game
Green stood out tonight, scoring 23 points, a career-high, on 6-of-7 shooting from deep. He also grabbed a couple rebounds. Green was a menace from behind the arc. He hit spot up threes, pull-up threes, and movement threes. The man was scorching hot. As usual, he had some good passes, too. Hyland blew by him a few times on defense, but Hyland blew by the entire Mavericks defense all night. Green playing well enough to carve out a big spot in the rotation would be huge for Dallas this year, and tonight was a good step toward that.
Christian Wood played 17 minutes
Jason Kidd’s usage of Wood is bordering on malpractice. The Mavericks’ best offensive threat behind Doncic played 17 minutes, his lowest number of the season. Wood took three shots. Dallas only scored 97 points tonight. There’s no excuse for leaving such a good offensive player on the bench. Not even Wood’s defense could be the reason, since JaVale McGee played 11 minutes. Wood is one of the Mavericks’ best players. Play him.
The Nuggets kept Doncic out of the paint
Doncic had zero shots at the rim tonight. He went 2-of-5 in the lane. Without the threat of him getting easy buckets at the rim, the Nuggets were able to lock down the Mavericks’ shooters (except Green). Tim Hardaway Jr. went 0-of-9 from deep. Spencer Dinwiddie went 1-of-8. Doncic was instead kept to the perimeter, where he shot 2-of-8. It was tough to watch.
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