The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 115-90 tonight in what amounted to an easy win for the home team. Luka Doncic had himself a game, scoring 34, grabbing 12 boards, and dishing seven assists. Victor Oladipo led Miami in scoring off the bench with 20.
The lack of credible guard play from the Heat allowed the Mavericks to look as good as they all season on the defensive end. The Heat shot a ghastly 20% from 3 while the Mavericks, thanks in part to Reggie Bullock and Luka Doncic, shot 47.4% from beyond the arc. The Heat made a run in the second quarter and managed to end the first half down 9 points but couldn't hit the side of a barn to start the second half. After that, the game was never really in question and the Mavericks were able to cruise to an easy victory.
Dwight Powell’s Energy was huge
The Heat lack the type of perimeter players that can put your defense in crisis and force it into steady rotation. Oftentimes, they rely on a defense beating itself in order to generate clean looks. Discipline and attention to detail is sometimes enough to grind Miami’s offense to a halt. Tonight, Dwight Powell’s energy and effort made things difficult for the Heat. The Heat were determined to score in the paint to start the game as evidenced by the fact their first jump shot may have come midway through the first quarter.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, shot well from 3 and were able to get off to an early lead. Christian Wood is monster on the offensive end but his inability to rotate on time and simply be in the right place at the right time could have changed the outlook of this game in a negative way. He’s still a valuable player but he has a long way to go in order to be a force on the defensive end.
The Mavericks Defense won them the game
Shooting will come and go but a consistent defense can carry you through a long regular season. Unlike last year, the team’s focus on the defensive end has wavered. You can often see teammates looking at one another in disgust as opponents go in for uncontested layups or hit wide open 3s. That wasn’t the case tonight. Even Luka looked more engaged on defense tonight and Jeff Van Gundy made a comment about it. If the team is bought in on defense and can shoot above 40% from three, that’s usually a recipe for a win.
Reggie Bullock is back...hopefully
Death, Taxes, and Reggie Bullock remembering how to shoot in January. The past 4 seasons, Bullock’s shooting splits to start the season have been remarkably worse than his numbers from January forward. We’ve all cursed Bullock’s name at some point this season because we remember how impactful Bullock was for us in the postseason. After another 5 for 6 night from deep, his yearly shooting resurgence could be huge for the Mavericks as they look to climb the Western Conference standings.
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