The Mavericks followed up their loss to the Timberwolves on Thursday night with another lackluster effort on Saturday afternoon, falling to Minnesota 104-96. Unsurprisingly, Dallas looked a little disjointed to start the preseason considering the amount of roster turnover going back to the trade deadline last season, but even though the Mavericks went 0-2 in Abu Dhabi, there are a few positive takeaways from what they showed on the court.
Let’s take a closer look at what went wrong (and right) for the Mavericks in today’s game.
30.4%: Three-point percentage for the Mavericks
The Mavericks struggled from downtown, making the same amount of threes as the Timberwolves (14) on 15 more attempts. The Mavericks will not win many games when they are this inefficient from deep, as they rely on three-point shooting to fuel their offense more than almost any other team in the league — last season, 39.9% of Dallas’ points came from threes, third-most in the NBA.
For the second consecutive game, Grant Williams shot 2-for-7 from three-point distance and did not have any other field goal attempts. It’s obviously a very small sample size, but hopefully Williams will be able to add more diversity to his shot profile and capitalize on his spot-up threes at a much higher rate as he gets more comfortable with the team.
20: Turnovers for Dallas
The Timberwolves took advantage of the Mavericks’ sloppiness, scoring 24 points off Dallas turnovers. The Timberwolves certainly deserve a lot of credit for their activity on defense —Minnesota generated 22 deflections, twice as many as Dallas — but the Mavericks needed to be much more careful with the ball to have any hope of winning a game in which their shooting was so poor. It will be interesting to see if the Mavericks can manage to ramp up their pace this upcoming season without sacrificing too many possessions to turnovers and rushed shots (which may as well be turnovers).
3: Blocks for Dereck Lively
Lively was one of the lone bright spots for the Mavericks in the game, making his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor by providing some much-needed resistance in the paint. In addition to his three blocks, Lively also accumulated one steal and demonstrated commendable hustle throughout the game. Perhaps most importantly, Lively only picked up three fouls, which allowed him to play 22 minutes after foul trouble limited him to less than 15 minutes in the previous game against Minnesota. If Lively can consistently maintain this level of activity without fouling at an excessive rate, he will surely earn a substantial role in the Mavericks’ rotation this season.
The Mavericks will look to generate some positive momentum in their next preseason game this Tuesday when they play Luka Dončić’s former team, Real Madrid.