The Dallas Mavericks took care of business on the road in New Orleans, dispatching the Pelicans by a score of 136-124. Garbage time distorted the final score; this game was not remotely close. Dallas was in control for most of this one, and they asserted their dominance in the second half against a struggling, banged-up Pelicans squad. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving were brilliant, continuing their impressive run of play as a duo.
It was a fun, easy victory. The Mavericks looked incredible on offense, which has been true for virtually every game they’ve played this season. This is a good basketball team! Here are three numbers that help tell the story of tonight’s win.
65: combined points for Doncic and Irving
For the second straight game, LuKai went crazy. Irving was extremely aggressive from the opening tip, taking eight shots in the first quarter and hitting five. He continued his shotmaking ways in the second quarter, culminating with a buzzer-beating three that helped him take 22 points into halftime. Luka Doncic got in on the scoring fun in the third quarter and before long, both superstars were over the 30-point threshold.
While there was definitely a bit of “your turn, my turn” tonight in how each player looked for their offense, the Mavericks’ superstar duo played off each other extremely well, too. There were multiple plays of one assisting the other; one play in the second quarter saw Irving find a cutting Doncic in the lane for an easy layup. That really stood out, as Doncic simply doesn’t score a ton off cuts or off-ball action. It’s clear that they’re figuring things out in a big way, and it’s a huge reason why the Mavericks’ offense is such a juggernaut.
10: Rebounds for Dwight Powell
The much-maligned big man is not known for his prowess on the glass, but Powell had a really nice game rebounding the ball
. Because of his efforts, the Mavericks actually out-rebounded the Pelicans tonight 42-41. That’s huge because Dallas is not a good rebounding team and any game that sees them grab more than their opponent is a minor miracle. Three of Powell’s boards tonight were offensive rebounds; those extra possessions were crucial as Dallas went on their big run and extended their lead. Going up against Jonas Valanciunas and Zion Williamson is a tough task, and Powell should be commended for the work he did tonight.
+12: Dallas’ turnover differential
The Pelicans coughed the basketball up 18 times, while the Mavericks committed just six turnovers themselves. Put simply, you’re going to win most games with that kind of turnover discrepancy. Dallas has long been one of the better teams at taking care of the ball. They uncharacteristically had some high-turnover games earlier in the season, so it’s nice to see them settle down and get back to normalcy there.
What’s new this year is what the Mavericks are doing with opponent turnovers. The transition game has been a much bigger part of the Dallas attack; tonight they turned those 18 Pelican turnovers into 22 points by getting out and running off those miscues. Their 30 fast-break points tonight underscore this idea, as well.
EDIT: I mistakenly asserted here that Dallas outrebounded New Orleans in this game, which they definitely did not do, as some of you pointed out in the comments below. In my defense, they did have more total rebounds (42) than New Orleans did defensive rebounds (41) so really, they basically did outrebound them. I’m a fool!
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