The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 106-105 in one of the most depressing losses of the season. The Bucks are a fantastic team with one of the only players who challenges Luka Doncic for the title of best player in the world. So, losing to them was not depressing. Losing because they missed their last six free throws was incredibly frustrating.
Before that, the Mavericks played some of their best basketball of the season. Doncic was clearly the best player on the court winning that battle for individual supremacy. Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney Smith played fantastic defense. But most importantly from an entertainment perspective, the Mavericks played like the high school team from Flubber.
Christian Wood finished a lob from Josh Green. Josh Green jumped on one side of the basket and went under the rim apparently intent to finish with a reverse layup. Instead he just continued floating and dunked on the other side of the rim. Spencer Dinwiddie had two forceful dunks in traffic.
This is chronologically out of order, but the most surprising dunk of the game was Doncic absolutely yamming on Jrue Holiday. Holiday is an elite defender and he was in a perfect position to contest Doncic. It did not matter.
The play begins with Doncic’s improved defense leading to a steal. It ends with his improved explosiveness culminating in a dunk. The end of the game was terrible, but at its core, sports fandom is about being entertained. In the words of Maximus Decimus Meridius, “Are you not entertained?”
The Mavericks biggest blunder early in the season was making a team with Doncic in his apex form, a chore to watch. The Mavericks are far from figuring out all of their issues but they have become much more fun to watch.