The Dallas Mavericks held off the Detroit Pistons at home Monday night, winning 111-105. Luka Doncic paced all Mavericks with 53 points. Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 29 for Detroit, making the case for why he’s such a coveted piece at the trade deadline.
Doncic returned from an ankle sprain against the Suns and apparently not a moment too soon, because without his scoring, the Mavericks might’ve been ran off the floor by Detroit in the first quarter. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, the Dallas offense ground to a halt. Porous Dallas defense and Detroit fouling Luka a ton resulted in a 21 free throws attempted in the frame, slowing the game to a crawl. But Doncic scored 24 points in the frame an Dallas led 30-27 after one period.
The standard mixed bench unit led Dallas with Doncic on the bench and offense slowed to a predictable crawl. Spencer Dinwiddie in particular was slow to attack for whatever reason. The rampant fouling slowed some in the second quarter, but the Dallas defense remained very bad. JaVale McGee saw action for the first time in several games and managed to put the ball in the basket enough to where he was the second leading scorer for Dallas with eight in his short stint. Outside of Doncic and McGee, the rest of the team shot a putrid 7-of-25 in the half. Dallas found themselves behind at the half, 57-53.
The Mavericks found a little more offense in the third, with Luka Doncic attacking the paint and not giving Detroit a chance to send a double, which was one element that threw Dallas off in the second quarter. But an inability to rebound, defend, or make free throws meant the Pistons held or extended a reasonable cushion for much of the quarter. But a number of (bad) offensive foul calls against Detroit helped Dallas cut the lead all the way down to one late in the frame. The Mavericks trailed 84-83 after 36 minutes of game action.
Spencer Dinwiddie finally found the bottom of the net after going scoreless all game and the Mavericks seemed to be off to the races. Detroit’s red hot three point shooting cooled just enough and with Luka Doncic on the bench, the Mavericks finally extended the lead. And yet, the Pistons would not fold. Led by Bojan Bogdanovic, the Pistons pulled within two with just under five minutes remaining. The Luka-Bojan duel to end the game was quite electric, considering the footspeed of the two players, just skill on skill, with Bogdanovic willing Detroit back in the game time and again. But there was not enough time and Dallas walked away with a 111-105 win.
This team needs more
I enjoy a Doncic 50 point game as much as anyone, but the fact that Dallas needed a 50 point game to hold off the putrid Detroit Pistons should be a bright red alarm for anyone on the fence about what this Dallas team can do. The Mavericks did not have a single player past Doncic in double figures until Spencer Dinwiddie scored all his 12 in the final frame. I am really glad people take joy in the developments of Josh Green or hold Dorian Finney-Smith in high regard. Heck, I have irrational love for Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock. Those four players scored 31 points. That is not enough! Winning is good, we should all enjoy winning, but goodness, even Doncic is starting to get tired of the collective bleh from his teammates and it’s exhibited more and more in his body language.
The Mavericks either need to make a trade just to shake things up or this might get weird. They need more.
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