The Mavericks rocked the Los Angeles Clippers in a big way Friday night, winning 144-126 in Dallas. Dallas improves to 7-2 on the season and 1-1 in group play of the NBA In-Season Tournament.
It was a big win for the Mavericks in multiple ways — the team bounced back from what you might call the team’s first disappointing loss, after getting pounded in the paint by the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. It was also the biggest win of the season, literally, as the 18 margin of victory is the largest of the season.
Both stars dominated for Dallas, with Luka Doncic leading the way with 44 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Kyrie Irving broke out of his prolonged shooting slump with 27 points and five made three pointers.
It was a wild night, as the Clippers scored the first eight points of the game and eventually took a 33-19 lead in the first quarter. Toward the end of the first and throughout the second, it felt like the Mavericks literally flipped a switch. The Mavericks destroyed the Clippers from that point forward, going on an insane 41-9 run over the course of about 10 minutes. Dallas turned a 12-point first quarter deficit into a 26-point halftime lead. Rarely do you see such a drastic turnaround within one half, or really one quarter, of basketball.
From there, the game was practically over. Dallas had a few more fun moments in the third before retiring most of their starters. It ended up being an 18-point final margin if only because the Mavericks were allowed to take it easy in the second half. This game was not even as close as the final score indicates. This was an ass-kicking.
This was peak Mavericks
The Mavericks offense has been scorching so far this season, despite the fact that Kyrie Irving was missing in action. Irving struggled to start the season, missing a few games with a foot injury and generally not looking 100 percent like himself.
Because of this the prevailing thought was “well, just look what will happen when Irving gets going” and boy, was that quite the show against the Clippers. Both Irving and Doncic had 20-plus points in the first half, with Irving having 20 and Doncic 27.
It was a masterful display between the two, leading to a jaw-dropping 47-18 scoring advantage in the second quarter for the Mavericks. It’s not like the supporting cast were bums either — Derrick Jones Jr., Grant Williams, Dereck Lively and others made positive contributions, Doncic and Irving simply just couldn’t miss from the field.
Dallas’ offense was already elite during Irving’s shooting slump. If the Mavericks All-Star guard can regain his form, the limit might not exist on the Mavericks offensive potential.
Jumpers were falling
Dallas was cooking in this one, making 19-of-42 three pointers and also 7-of-11 from midrange.
Seemingly every jumper a Maverick put up fell like it was destined to fall. The Mavericks rarely take double-digit midrange shots since the Luka era, but the Mavericks were feeling it, especially their two stars.
The Mavericks won’t be this hot on jumpers every night, but this just shows the kind of supernova potential this team has. The Mavericks are a difficult enough team to play against this season without Doncic and Irving draining 20-footers with ease.
This is a point that has been and will continue to be made on this website throughout this season: the Mavericks upgraded depth is paying of in a big way.
Last season, before the Irving trade and especially after, the Mavericks depth failed them. After a bad offseason, the Mavericks just didn’t replenish the roster with enough horses to run alongside Doncic. Now the team finally has some trustworthy options.
Dallas started this game slow, and coach Jason Kidd was able to mix and match some different lineups to find a working group. Dante was averaging about six minutes per game before tonight, and he had 18 against the Clippers. The Mavericks went to a rarely used lineup of Irving, Doncic, Exum, Derrick Jones. Jr, and Dereck Lively and it worked tremendously in the second quarter. It juiced the massive run the Mavericks went on, before other players rotated in before the half.
Just the fact that Kidd seemingly has more options he trusts than at any point last season, that’s huge. At times it felt like Kidd was hamstrung last season by the Mavericks poor roster building, now he’s benefiting from much of the upgrades.
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