The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Brooklyn Nets 96-94. The Mavericks made the decision to start Javale McGee and it went predictably poorly. Luka Doncic rescued them from their offensive doldrums while taking ample part in their defensive miscues. The Nets built a 14-point lead in the first quarter before Doncic’s offensive push got the Mavericks back to within five at 34-29.
When Kevin Durant left the game, the Nets simply did not have anyone to score. The Mavericks bench lineup, led by Josh Green, did a fantastic job of putting the clamps on the Nets and holding them to 16 points in the second quarter. That lineup had its own struggles scoring the ball, but they scored 24 in the quarter which was enough to give them a 53-50 lead entering the half.
The Mavericks started the second half with Dwight Powell in place of McGee and that did not go well either. The Mavericks missed their first 4 field goal attempts of the half and did not score from the field for nearly three and a half minutes. The Nets won the quarter 23-19 and took a one-point lead into the final frame. The Mavericks also had multiple issues with a wet floor as Tim Hardaway Jr slipped and injured his hip. Doncic also slipped but avoided injuries.
The fourth quarter got extremely physical, but the Mavericks overcame it. They held on for a win after Durant proved that he actually is human by missing his first free throw in 63 attempts when a perfect trip to the line would have resulted in a tie game. Durant missed the third free throw on purpose after missing the second. The Nets got the rebound but could not muster a shot on a very discombobulated possession that resulted in a Royce O’neale turnover and a Mavericks victory. Here are the stats to know.
118.3: Josh Green’s true shooting percentage
This was one of the best games of his young career. Green was everywhere scoring 16 points and securing 5 rebounds in 27 minutes. The Mavericks were +11 in his time on the court. They would not have won this game without him. Over the last couple of seasons, the Mavericks have had to make decisions over whether to prioritize giving Green developmental minutes or optimizing their chances at winning. Those two things are no longer mutually exclusive, and that is a credit to Green.
36: Number of points Doncic scored
It is stunning how consistently excellent Doncic has become. He is the best offensive engine in the world, and that engine is humming on all cylinders right now. He was 11-of-22 from the field and 5-of-9 from three. There are not enough superlatives to describe how well Doncic has played. But that does not mean that we should stop trying. This is the reason to watch sports, to see unbridled excellence and Doncic is most certainly that.
0: Number of points Reggie Bullock scored
This one hurts. Bullock deserves the benefit of the doubt. He was one of the most important players in the Mavericks playoff run last season, and he will come around. The calendar will change, and Bullock’s jumpers will go in. His defense will improve from good, and it has been good this season, to excellent. The Mavericks cannot get to where they want to go without Bullock playing at his best. They know that, and he will have every opportunity to prove that he is better the longer the season goes.
18: Number of points Dorian Finney-Smith scored
Durant only outscored Finney-Smith by eight points. That is a monumental win for Dallas and a big part of the reason that they won. This was the “Josh Green game” because of the nature of his production and his track record. Green deserves all of the praise that he will receive but Finney-Smith deserves just as much.
Overall, it wasn’t the prettiest game the Mavericks will play but they managed to find a win while working their way through it. That is all that matters.
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