The Dallas Mavericks lost 124-115 to the Milwaukee Bucks. This game continued a trend of the Mavericks losing, as they are now under .500. However, this game actually brought some hope as the Mavericks fought despite difficult circumstances and played well at times. The Bucks are an elite team, and the Mavericks were tired from a grueling game the night before.
Both teams came out on fire as they totaled 74 first quarter points, but the Mavericks were on the losing end, down 41-33. The fact that the Mavericks managed to give up 41 points in a quarter that Giannis Antetokounmpo scored only four points in is disturbing. Reggie Bullock sat out this game for rest. Bullock has not been good, but people who have complained about his defense (which has slipped from the playoffs) were in for a rude awakening to what bad defense looks like. The insertion of Tim Hardaway Jr. into the starting lineup guaranteed a look at actually bad defense. Unsurprisingly, the Bucks were able to romp despite the Mavericks fight, and impressive shooting of their own. Here are the stats to know.
10: Number of points the Mavericks were outscored by the Bucks with Javale McGee on the court
Jason Kidd has recently pointed out that the Mavericks can only afford to have one big on the floor most of the time. For a roster that has Maxi Kleber, Christian Wood, Davis Bertans and Dwight Powell along with Mcgee that would seem to be an issue. The Mavericks have already drastically cut McGee’s playing time as he played only 3:32. This means that the Mavericks actually beat the Bucks by one point in the other 44:28 of game time. Plus/minus is an incredibly fickle stat, especially in one game. The Mavericks simply can’t afford to play McGee in anything more than garbage minutes at this point.
5: Number of Doncic’s 9 free throws that he missed
One of the most positive stories from the early portion of the season was Doncic’s improved free throw shooting. That has all regressed. He is now shooting 73.2 percent from the free throw line for the season. That is worse than last season. Doncic has put in a heroic effort to try to carry this limited roster so far this season, but he needs to improve his free throw shooting.
3: Number of free throws Spencer Dinwiddie shot
Spencer Dinwiddie has always been good at drawing fouls. His free throw attempt rate for his career is 37.8 percent which is very good for a non-superstar. This season, that rate has fallen to 14.7 percent coming into this game. Some of this is due to his uptick in three-point shooting as his three-point attempt rate has climbed to 52.5 percent. This is the first season of his career where he is attempting more threes than twos.
Dinwiddie has become much more efficient as he is having a career shooting season but the inability to get to the line is hurting him. Dinwiddie still drives to the rim and creates contact at a fairly high rate. That has simply not led to the same number of free throws as it has in the past.
Overall, this was a tough loss, but the team fought hard. The game was not a pain to watch. Sadly, that represents progress.
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