The Dallas Mavericks ended the preseason with their first win, defeating the Detroit Pistons 114-104 at home. Josh Green led the way for the Mavericks with 22 points, while Malcolm Cazalon led the Pistons with 16 points in 19 minutes.
After looking rather jet-lagged in their first three games, the Mavericks came out tonight looking motivated and ready to cap off the preseason the right way. We saw Kyrie Irving’s return to action, but Luka Dončić was sidelined tonight as he continues to deal with a calf strain. The Mavericks hustled hard on both ends of the floor, showing off how athletic this team can be. With the Mavericks finally picking up a win in the preseason, here are some key takeaways from tonight’s game.
Josh Green wants to be paid
It was exciting to see Josh Green come out of the gates swinging, scoring 15 points in the opening quarter and wowing MFFLs with his energy on both ends of the floor. He finished an efficient 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from three in 24 minutes. If he can keep building on tonight’s performance, it will be hard to deny him a spot in the starting lineup. The Mavericks are running out of time to decide on Green’s impending contract extension, but he showed tonight that he deserves to stay in Dallas.
Dereck Lively II belongs
Rookie Dereck Lively II was another bright spot for the Mavericks tonight, scoring a preseason-high 14 points. He displayed his finishing skills with multiple emphatic dunks and alley-oop finishes. He pulled a push shot from the free throw line out of his repertoire, showing that he can score away from the rim. He continued to impress on the defensive end, only picking up two personal fouls. His impact is always felt when he is on the floor and he has shown that the Mavericks made the right pick in the draft.
The Mavericks need Kyrie
Kyrie Irving returned to action after being sidelined with a groin injury and flirted with a triple-double, putting up 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in 27 minutes. It was fun to watch him back out on the floor and have the Mavericks running in transition, something we will hopefully see more of this season. Irving and Lively’s chemistry was intriguing, as Irving had multiple assists to the rookie that led to strong finishes at the rim. The Mavericks run with Irving on the floor and it will be fun to see him running in transition in non-Luka lineups. With the amount of athleticism the Mavericks have now, I expect we will see more of this team out in transition.
The Mavericks starting lineup looks set to me. With Green and Lively’s performances tonight, it would be hard to deny them a starting spot next week. They played with energy and intensity, something this Mavericks team needs with Dončić’s injury status for the season-opener unknown.
It was great to see the Mavericks finally pick up a preseason win heading into next week’s season opener in San Antonio against Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs. The Mavericks showed many bright spots tonight that can be built on this season and it’s promising to think of where this team can go this season.
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