The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 103-94. This game was infuriating to watch as the Mavericks got the short end of the officiating stick. Luka Doncic appeared to be on his way to a dominating game but was limited due to foul trouble. The Mavericks somehow managed to find enough offense despite Luka, Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke all having 5 fouls before the end of the third quarter.
The Mavericks used their newfound defensive abilities and an incredible amount of grit to overcome this adversity. The Mavericks frustrated Trae Young and pulled out one of the most impressive wins of the season.
Here are the stats to know
53: Number of seconds into the third quarter Luka Doncic picked up his fifth foul
The validity of this foul, or other fouls does not need to be debated. I complain about refs more than anyone I know, so believe me I understand fans frustrations. But Luka cannot put himself in positions where he is unavailable. He could very easily have been called for his fourth foul multiple times before the charge which sent him to the bench in the first half.
It is unfair for people to critique players by essentially saying that they should not put themselves in positions to be effected by bad calls. That being said, Luka is the most important player on the court in any Maverick game. He has to learn from this and avoid putting himself in this position going forward.
With that out of the way, this is also what made this win so incredibly impressive. The Hawks have done a better job of team building since the draft night trade, but the remaining Mavericks showed that through their determination and defense, they might have something to say about that.
22: Points for Reggie Bullock
Bullock has come a long way since his struggles to begin the season. He has become the perfect complimentary player the Mavericks believed they were signing. He was 6 of 10 on three point shots and harassed Trae Young all night.
17: Points Trae Young scored on 6 of 19 shooting
In addition to his offense, Bullock did a fantastic job of defending Young. The Mavericks mixed up coverages on Young and he struggled mightily. After shutting Embiid down in the second half of the last game, this is a fantastic follow up in limiting an opponents best option.
4: Made threes by Jalen Brunson
Brunson is clearly doing a great job as a starter, but his long term viability with Luka depends on his ability to make catch and shoot threes. He made four of his five attempts tonight which is a season high. He had previously made three threes in four different games. The Mavericks have not lost a game in which he made at least three threes since opening night against these same Hawks.
Overall this was a game which was difficult to watch in parts, but that difficulty just made the victory sweeter in the end.
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