The Dallas Mavericks fell on the road Saturday night, getting blown out by the Charlotte Hornets, 129-108. Six different Hornets scored in double figures, led by Miles Bridges scoring 23. Luka Doncic notched 37 for Dallas in defeat.
The Mavericks seemed unaware the game began at 6:00 pm as the Charlotte Hornets opened the game on a 16-2 scoring run. Luka Doncic willed the Mavericks back into things with multiple threes but Dallas still found themselves down 35-24 after a quarter. The Dallas defense eventually showed up and the Mavericks carved their way back, actually taking the lead around the four minute mark. The teams would trade leads before sloppy Maverick turnovers aided an 11-0 Charlotte run to close the half. The Mavericks trailed 61-52 at the break.
Luka Doncic led a run to get Dallas all the way back in things, scoring 15 points in the first half of the third. But the Hornets took a timeout with Dallas down 2, and responded with a 28-8 run and found themselves up 102-80. The Hornets hit another three to start the fourth and by that point, the game was over. Dallas got absolutely ran out of the gym, 129-108.
Now, some thoughts:
It’s just like that sometimes
The NBA season is so long and the fact is, prior to the 76ers game the Mavericks have played astoundingly good basketball for nearly the entire 2022 calendar year. They had some bad losses to bad teams, yes, but there’s not much to do other than move on to the next one.
These last two losses are ones of attrition. Following the Houston win, they’ve played these last four games without a key rotation piece in Reggie Bullock and when the Mavericks opted to rest Spencer Dinwiddie the writing was on the wall. The Mavericks have a seven and a half man rotation when they’re fully healthy, so being down two members of that group proved too much to overcome. Which leads me to my next point...
The Mavericks need more depth
This is not a problem to solve at this point in the season, it’s just something to acknowledge, accept, and understand. The Dallas rotation players consist of Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock, Dwight Powell and if you stare really hard, Josh Green. Guys who get spot minutes to fill out things include Josh Green also (depending on the game is where you might slot him), Davis Bertans, and now that he’s healthy Marquese Chriss. Of those nine players, three weren’t on the team to start the season.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is injured, it’s true, but it’s unclear where he fits in this rotation. Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, and Sterling Brown may not be NBA players when their contracts are up. Boban’s not a fit with this roster and how they want to play. Willie Cauley-Stein and Moses Brown were cut.
It’s all a moot point now, but these two games were a glimpse of what we all feared if Dinwiddie was the player he looked like in Washington. Instead, he’s helped mask some of the depth problems by being outstanding. This is nothing hardcore Mavericks fans don’t already know, but it’s worth acknowledging as the Mavericks try to keep their heads above water.
These two losses were bad for the standings
If the Dallas Mavericks aren’t careful, they could fall to the play-in. With the Timberwolves destroying the Bucks and Denver sitting there right behind Dallas, the Mavericks need to win every single night. Dallas plays the Wolves twice in the next week, so things should get sorted out in short order. Hopefully, the streak-busting Mavericks show up Monday and knock the Wolves back a peg.
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.