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4 things from Dallas’ 96-94 victory over Brooklyn

Another clutch game, another clutch win

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (6-3) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (4-7), 96-94 at home on Monday evening. Dallas was led by, who else, Luka Doncic who added another 30+ point game to his streak, finishing with 36 points, six rebounds, and six assits. Kevin Durant helped the Nets build an early lead and hang around throughout the game by contributing 26 points of his own.

This was a difficult back and forth game. The Mavericks started off slow, once again, getting down early in the first quarter by double digits, only to rally back in the same period. They went on to hold a three point halftime lead, with help from spectacular play off the bench by Josh Green. The third quarter was very much a grind-it-out affair, with all sorts of weird calls from the referees as things got increasingly chippy.

The fourth wasn’t much better with Dallas, seemingly addicted to riding the rollercoaster this year, having built an 11-point lead with under four minutes to go. Nevertheless, Brooklyn rallied back to cut the lead to one point with 25 seconds to go. After back-and-forth fouls that saw Luka, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Kevin Durant hit clutch free throws, it was Finney-Smith who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, fouling Durant on a three-point shot attempt. However, after making 62 in a row, Durant finally missed on his second of three from the line and Dallas secured an ugly win.

Rent’s going up

Josh Green island is some of the hottest real estate in Dallas. The third-year player has had some solid performances so far this year, but he really put his mark on this one. His 17 points were just one shy of his career-best 18, but his energy on the boards, a couple of slick passes that ended in Tim Hardaway Jr three-pointers, and stout defensive plays we a big difference in this game that turned into a sloppy mess in the second half.

His two-handed slam off a Luka Doncic missed layup was an exclamation point on a night where he was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor and 2-of-2 from three. Just an all-around great performance from a guy who stands to log a bunch of new minutes pending Tim Hardaway Jr’s hip injury.

A sloppy slog

Both teams started off shooting hot from the floor – Brooklyn shot over 40% from the floor and from three, and Dallas shot OVER 50% from the floor and from three in the first half. With the score at halftime sitting at a score of 53-50 in favor of Dallas, both squads looked destined for a big, triple-digit night. Then, in the third quarter, the game fell straight into the muck. Offenses sputtered, the flow was halted by a stream of whistles, and Dallas was uncharacteristically lax with their ball control.

Dallas is one of the best teams in the league when it comes to protecting the ball, coughing it up just 13 times a game. They gave it away 9 times in the third quarter alone. Things had looked to be going better in the fourth, but Dallas, at the moment, seems incapable of running away with a game. It’s hard to keep a team with a talent like Kevin Durant down for long, but with eight of their 9 games so far this year ending up as clutch games can’t be good for the nervous system.

The lineup experimentation will continue until production improves

After coming off the bench against Toronto, JaVale Mcgee was back in the starting five with head coach Jason Kidd providing the standard “matchups” reasoning. He lasted three minutes and never saw the floor again.

Meanwhile, Reggie Bullock and Spencer Dinwiddie contributed a combined two points between them. That’s three of the five players in your starting lineup adding up for 2 points. Granted, Bullock and Dinwiddie simply had an off game – they’ve shown they can be contributors. Still, it hints that we’re not done seeing Kidd tinker with these lineups and rotations.

Mop the damn floor

After Pascal Siakam sustained an injury after slipping on the floor, Tim Hardaway Jr went into the splits as he was moving under the basket and his foot slid across the floor. He was ruled out for the game with a left hip strain. Up to that point, he was having a solid shooting night, putting in 11 points on 50% shooting. If that wasn’t bad enough, soon after Tim’s slip, Luka Doncic had a similar incident along the sideline. Fortunately, he was able to get up and continue, but it’s not something you like to see on your home court.

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