The Dallas Mavericks jumped on a roller coaster Sunday evening, in a 107-101 win. The Golden State Warriors started out aggressive, pushing the Mavericks offense around the perimeter. Luka Doncic started out sluggish, coughing up the ball like he wasn’t interested in the idea of offense.
And then everything shifted. It happened a few times, but the Mavs just kept chipping away. They’d take a little then give a little. Hope looked lost entering the fourth. Yet the Mavericks stiffened their defense, played an ultra small lineup, and followed the momentum of Spencer Dinwiddie.
Here are some numbers that jumped out:
21: The Mavericks biggest deficit
The Mavericks found themselves down by as much as 21 points, and 19 early in the fourth quarter. From the tip the game was a tug of war. Anytime they’d make up ground from an early deficit they’d go empty handed on a several possessions until the Warriors would hit a three.
Credit this version of the Mavericks, who several times this season refuse to check out. The entire fourth quarter the team was engaged and the bench was on its feet invested. That matters.
Speaking of the fourth: the Mavericks went on one massive 12 minute run. They outscored a befuddled and tired Warriors team 33-13. Jason Kidd removed bigs Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, who both weren’t effective. Instead closing the game was Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, and Dorian Finney-Smith. It was a unique lineup I’ll be curious to see if it makes an appearance down the road.
9 & 2: Luka’s turnovers and assists
Now a downer. The early hole was because the Warriors were just constantly playing in a fast break. The Mavericks, and more specifically Doncic, kept turning the ball over.
Though it’s common to have turnovers given his usage rate, Doncic having nine turnovers and just two assists was jarring. He finished the game with 34 points and 11 rebounds (11-of-12 from the free throw line) but he’s looked a little sluggish in the two games since the all-star break. Maybe this game, on the eve of his 23rd birthday, jumpstarts his home stretch.
24 & 44: Dinwiddie’s points against the Warriors and last two games combined
There were plenty of questions about the return in a trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards. But it’s hard to watch the few games since the deal and not be excited about what both Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans have flashed.
Dinwiddie led this comeback. He’s been the spark the bench has needed, and has looked comfortable playing with reserves and starters alike. Tonight he scored 24 points (10-of-14 from the floor) while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out five assists. In the last two games he has scored 44 points, and was featured this time in the closing lineup (he sat on Friday). Expect Kidd to feature Dinwiddie more in the clutch.
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.