The Dallas Mavericks pulled off a miracle win against the Golden State Warriors Sunday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco, winning 107-101. The Mavericks looked incredibly sloppy to start the game, but they pulled it together and held tight until the fourth quarter, when they finally made a run.
Dallas almost gave the game away in the first quarter by giving the ball away liberally (more on that later), giving up 37 points to the Warriors and getting outscored by 13. But they cleaned things up a bit and played Golden State to a virtual draw the next two quarters. That primed them for a big run in the fourth quarter and the eventual win (click here for a video recap!).
“That is a character, environment, culture win in the sense that no one quit,” Jason Kidd said after the game.
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 34 points, adding 11 rebounds as well. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 27 points.
Here are three observations from the game:
Spencer Dinwiddie had his coming out party
There’s been a lot said about the trade that brought Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans to Dallas in exchange for Kristaps Porzingis. Both players were languishing on the Washington Wizards, and neither was playing very well. The concern was that they’d continue their poor play in Dallas.
Dinwiddie extinguished any worries tonight, lighting up the Warriors to the tune of 24 points and five assists off the bench. Perhaps the most encouraging sign was Dinwiddie going 2-of-4 from deep. If he can shoot consistently, he’ll be a valuable asset coming off the bench, and possibly closing games, as we saw tonight. Dinwiddie’s defense won’t ever be at a high level, and he gets tunnel vision with the rim occasionally, but through a handful of games he’s been an asset the Mavericks desperately needed.
“He’s a baller,” Luka said after the game. “That’s how I’m going to describe him.”
The Mavericks’ small ball lineup outplayed the Warriors
The Mavericks were down 17 points in the fourth quarter to the second best team in the Western Conference. They quickly erased that deficit, however, going on a 14-0 run that eventually turned into a 28-3 run. The key was abandoning their bigs and going with a small lineup. Well, unless you count Davis Bertans as a big.
The Mavericks played Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber a combined seven seconds in the fourth quarter. They closed the game with Luka, Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Reggie Bullock. The Warriors had no answer. They were up 94-93 when the Mavericks went with that five man rotation, and got outscored 14-7 to finish the game.
The Mavericks might not be able to get away with that lineup against teams with above average big men, but at least they’ve unlocked a potential lineup variation for the playoffs. That’s essential, because teams that have multiple answers for different situations tend to do better in the postseason.
Turnovers almost killed the Mavericks
The Mavericks committed a million dumb turnovers against the Warriors (that’s an advanced stat, don’t bother checking the box score). Dallas got after it early, too, turning it over six times in the first quarter. Luka was the main culprit, coughing the ball up nine times, including five in the first quarter. There was no reset at halftime, either, as the Mavericks committed three turnovers in less than two minutes to start the third quarter.
If you look at the first quarter score without watching the game, you’d probably think the Mavericks’ defense fell apart. But their defense never got a chance to get set up because the Warriors were always on a break and the Mavericks were left scrambling around the floor, chasing open shooters and cutters. The Warriors didn’t seem to be doing anything special on defense. The Mavericks just looked sloppy. Dallas has taken care of the ball well this season, so this was probably just an anomaly.
Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.