The Dallas Mavericks once again fell to a shorthanded team, losing a close game to the Toronto Raptors, 105-100, Saturday night in Toronto. The Raptors were without Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, but knowing this season’s Mavericks as we do, we should have known the result was never in doubt.
O.G. Anunoby and Fred VanVleet led the way for the Raptors with 26 points each. Chris Boucher was a huge game-changer for the Raptors, adding 22 points and 13 rebounds. Luka Doncic had 24 points on the night to lead the way for the Mavericks. Spencer Dinwiddie started off hot, but foul trouble clearly affected his flow for the game after leaving early in the 3rd quarter with four fouls. Toronto clobbered Dallas on the boards, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, which led to 25 second-chance points for the Raptors. That deficit ended up being a deciding factor for the game.
The Raptors had four early turnovers in the first three minutes, which allowed the Mavericks to open the game on a 7-0 run. At the 6:45 mark, Dallas led the Raptors 15-4 behind nine points from Dinwiddie and six points from Dwight Powell. Doncic didn’t score his first basket of the game until the 5:52 mark. The Dallas lead ballooned by as much as 15 points early on. But Chris Boucher came off the bench to grab 10 points and 10 rebounds, which led to a 17-7 Raptors run. Dallas led 29-24 at the end of the quarter.
The Raptors seemed to shake off their Thanksgiving hangover as the game went on, because their energy was more lively than it was to start the game. A Boucher basket at the 10:51 mark punctuated a run where the Raptors erased a 15-point Mavericks lead. Then, at the 7:09 mark, Dinwiddie picked up his third foul of the game. The Raptors went on to take their biggest game lead at 54-47. To close the half, Doncic threw up a deep left-wing three-pointer, swishing it as only he can. Toronto led 54-52 at the half. Doncic and Dinwiddie had 11 points each to lead the Mavericks. Fred VanVleet had 18 points, followed by a solid off-the-bench performance from Boucher with 12 points and eight rebounds. Going into the game against the Raptors, the Mavericks had only given up ten offensive rebounds in the last two games. However, the Raptors had 12 at halftime.
Just 92 seconds into the second half, Dinwiddie picked up his fourth foul, which resulted in Facundo Campazzo coming into the game. Toronto slowly pulled ahead with hustle, offensive rebounds, and transition baskets. The Raptors grabbed the first double-digit lead after a Juancho Hernangomez 3-pointer at the 4:40 mark. The Raptors held the Mavericks to only 21 points scored in the 3rd quarter and after three quarters, the Raptors led the Mavericks, 81-73.
Doncic started the fourth for the Mavericks, continuing a recent tend. Dallas went on a 11-2 run to start the game and finally retook their first lead since the second quarter on Doncic free throws. However, the Raptors answered on a 5-0 run of their own to take a four point lead. At the 5:41 mark, the Raptors pushed their lead to 90-85. After a silly foul from Anunoby, the Mavericks would shoot free throws the rest of the way. Dorian Finney-Smith tied the game at 90-90 after a corner three-pointer. Dallas led the game 92-91 after a Doncic lay-up. Reggie Bullock then hit two huge free throws after an Anunoby foul was upgraded to a flagrant foul, which pulled the Mavericks within one at 97-96. Thaddeus Young made two huge free throws to extend the Raptor's lead to 103-100. On the final offensive play of the game, Finney-Smith threw a bad pass meant for Maxi Kleber. The Raptors shot a couple free throws, sealing the game, 105-100.
I hate road trips
As of this date, the Mavericks have the fourth worst road record in the NBA. Only the Miami Heat (1-7), the Orlando Magic (1-8), and the Golden State Warriors (1-9) are worse. They simply have to figure this out, since, you know, they have to play 41 games on the road, and teams that consider themselves contenders for the title should be better than this in opposing arenas.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has not made a 3-pointer since the Mavericks win against the Denver Nuggets on November 18th. Hardaway is in a bad way right now, and Dallas needs him to shake this awful stretch off. The Mavericks seem to be trying to allow Hardaway runway to shake off this funk, but he seems to be stuck in quicksand.
Not taking teams seriously
The Mavericks continue this pattern of not taking teams seriously, including when they’re shorthanded. The Raptors were down two star players in Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, but an understaffed squad still managed to find a way to beat a healthy and rested Mavericks team. This is on everyone, from Doncic to the role players to the coaching staff.
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