The Dallas Mavericks were run off the floor of the Target Center Friday night, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-95. It wasn’t a route from the beginning, but by the middle of the third quarter the Timberwolves had extended the lead to the point the rest of the game felt like going through the motions.
For a brief moment during the game, because the Utah Jazz lost while Dallas was still playing, the Mavericks were fourth in the West. With the loss they scoot back down to a tie with the Utah Jazz, who they play in a critical game Sunday evening. Minnesota draws back to 2.5 games behind the Mavericks.
The Mavericks, who lost by 21 tonight, saw a pair of bad 21’s in the game — plus one very important number to watch:
21 to 8: the free throw disparity in the first half, favoring Minnesota
This is not the reason the Mavericks lost tonight. But the fouls were a main storyline in the first half, with Dallas racking up phantom offenses one after the other. I actually counted three different times that the local Minnesota broadcast mentioned being confused by the calls, not seeing what the refs were seeing — not too often you hear that!
The Timberwolves were up 11 at half, which meant they were in a commanding lead but it was still within reach for the Mavericks. Having 13 more free throw attempts in an 11 point game matters. Credit to the Timberwolves for being the aggressor all night.
21: the streak of missed threes from the supporting cast
Mavericks shooting was plain awful. And it took a fourth quarter Josh Green three to snap a streak of 21 missed threes from non-Luka Doncic Mavericks in the game. That is A LOT of misses. It’s almost surprising that Doncic still finished with eight assists considering how poorly the team shot.
The Timberwolves once again pushed their double teams on Luka high on the floor, a repeat of their game earlier in the week. This time around no one made them pay. The non-Luka starters were 2-of-20 from three, and 10-of-43 as a team (Luka made five). Yes, this is a make or miss league — but this is also the warning call of an offense that schemes like this as we inch closer to the postseason.
15: Luka technical fouls on the season
In a late game double technical, Doncic was called for his 15th technical on the season. Players who reach 16 technicals on the season receive a one-game suspension. It is likely a given that he will contest this ruling (he had one rescinded earlier in the season). Whether it’s taken back or not, Luka is playing with fire a little bit as the Mavericks jockey for position in the postseason.
It wasn’t all bad Friday night. There was this DIME:
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.