The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets 113-100 Friday night in Houston. Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. Kevin Porter Jr. was the high point man for Houston with 17.
The Mavericks were clearly the more talented team and they took advantage of it. The Rockets had absolutely no answer for the Luka Doncic/Dwight Powell pick and roll. The Mavericks ran it early and often to great success.
The Rockets made the score much closer than the game actually was with some late window dressing. But make no mistake, the Mavericks absolutely dominated this game.
Here are the things to know.
Dwight Powell had the best game of his career
The Rockets were incredibly bad at defending the pick and roll but Powell still had to play well to take advantage and he certainly did. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in the first half. He was 8-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
The Rockets clearly chose to change their defense to take away Powell’s rim runs in the second half which limited his production. But any time Powell forces a defense to change their defense to account for him, that team is in a heap of trouble given the talented guards on this team. He still finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He was a team leading plus-19.
Maxi Kleber is broken
Kleber was called for three fouls in only four minutes in the first half. He had been in a slump coming into this game, and this appeared to be an opportunity for him to take advantage of the matchup to get things going. He did not do so. Kleber is incredibly important to the Mavericks success as he is the only rotation big on the roster other than Powell. It was nice to see Powell play well, but Kleber has to do better.
The Mavericks simply don’t have any option other than to hope for a return to form. When he is playing well, Kleber offers too many skills that no one else on the team can duplicate. He did not play in the second half so it will be interesting to see if he has been nursing an injury which may explain his poor play.
The Mavericks took care of business against a bad team
The Mavericks sometimes struggle to get started against bad teams but they put this game away early. They were up 23 at the end of the first half and everything in the second half was simply window dressing. That should always be the goal for a good team playing a bad team.
Luka Doncic had an extremely well rounded game
Luka has had a ton of supernova games recently. This game did not quite qualify as he finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds and six assists which are relatively normal numbers for him lately. However, this was one of the more well rounded games he has played recently. He played a solid floor game despite the limited number of assists and was very good defensively, even spending portions of the game as a rim protector.
Spencer Dinwiddie does not have to be a knock down shooter to contribute
Dinwiddie struggled from the three point line as he was 1-of-4 tonight. He still contributed by calming the flow of the game and providing size on the perimeter on defense. He got to the rim at will and showed how much he can help even if he does not knock down shots every night.
He finished with 16 points, seven assists, two steals and a block. Some pessimists have argued his success with the Mavericks has been due to an unsustainable hot streak. The shooting has helped, but tonight was a good example of why he is a positive addition even on nights the jumper isn’t quite as good.
Overall this was a much needed win that gets the Mavericks back on track. They allowed it to get a little closer than it should have in the fourth but the game was never truly in doubt.
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