The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night in Dallas, winning 121-114. The Mavericks raced to a 12-0 lead, but the Thunder kept grinding and eventually fought their way back into the lead. But in the second quarter, the Mavericks’ shots started falling and they grabbed the lead back from the Thunder. Dallas outscored Oklahoma City 43-24 in the second quarter, taking a 65-52 lead into halftime.
The Mavericks stayed hot early on in the third quarter, hitting shot after shot from deep. But the Thunder refused to let Dallas run away with the game. They cut into the Mavericks’ lead enough to keep the game close. The fourth quarter turned into a grimy, wrestling match of a game. The Mavericks hung tough, made enough shots to hold onto the lead, and came away with a gutsy victory.
Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 38 points to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists. Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. both chipped in 20 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 42 points. He also dished out three assists. Jalen Williams added 17 points.
Here are three things from the game:
Dallas continues to win with shooting
The Mavericks really only know one way to win — by outshooting their opponents. When the shots are falling, everything is smooth and the vibes are immaculate. But if the Mavericks struggle to hit shots from deep, the game morphs into something close to unwatchable.
Even more, it translates into the rest of their game. The Mavericks play better defense after they make shots. Our own Josh Bowe pointed it out midgame:
most teams play better defense after a made shot, but the mavericks play *really* good defense after a made shot. it's not just an eye test narrative: second in the league in defensive points per possession after they make a shot https://t.co/wuIoesvOM7 pic.twitter.com/oKKZHjm7Zl— Josh Bowe (@Boweman55) December 13, 2022
If the Mavericks don’t make their shots, everything else starts to fall apart. This game was an incredible microcosm of that. They grabbed leads by shooting the lights out from behind the arc, then allowed the Thunder to creep back in when the shots stopped falling. They ended up hitting 40 percent of their 3-pointers, and that was enough to secure the win.
Non-Doncic Mavericks shot 7-of-22 on two-point shots. This where they miss Jalen Brunson heavily. They need someone outside of Doncic who can get up shots that aren’t three pointers. Dinwiddie did step up and help create some shots in the paint, however. Speaking of Dinwiddie...
Spencer Dinwiddie is becoming a reliable costar for Doncic
We all wondered who would be the Mavericks’ second-best player after Doncic this offseason. It’s becoming clear that’s Dinwiddie. Dorian Finney-Smith shoots well and always takes the toughest defensive assignment. Tim Hardaway Jr. can explode for 28 points at any time. Christian Wood has tantalizing offensive talent.
But Dinwiddie is the one who consistently shows up for the Mavericks. He’s averaging 16.7 points and 5.1 assists per game on 41 percent shooting from deep this season. Dallas probably doesn’t win without him tonight. He was plus-13 on the night.
The Mavericks did show grit tonight
This is the type of game the Mavericks have a tendency to lose. Not tonight. The officiating was questionable, the Thunder did everything they could to turn the game into a street fight, and the three point shooting came and went. But Dallas didn’t buckle. They’ll need to keep that mindset for the rest of the season, because there’s going to be more games like this ahead.
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