The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, losing 132-125. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with a near triple-double, scoring 40 while grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing seven assists. Kyrie Irving was the high point man for Dallas with 39 points.
The two teams traded baskets early, with Luka Doncic and Antetokounmpo playing like superstars. Both Irving and Damian Lillard started off slow for their respective teams though, so the game stayed close throughout the first quarter. The second period saw a frustrated Doncic play porous defense, which led to the Bucks building up a sizable lead throughout the period. A late-quarter close by the Mavericks brought Dallas all the way back and the Bucks only led 60-58 at the half.
The Mavericks looked dominant in the third, pouring in points in a variety of means. But the Bucks would not go quietly and hung around throughout the frame. Dallas held onto a tenuous lead throughout much of the third and into the fourth. A cold spell from the Mavericks paired with an offensive outburst from the Bucks meant Milwaukee rallied all the way back into the game to take the lead on Giannis free throws near the five-minute mark. Milwaukee would not trail again despite a valiant performance from Kyrie Irving. Dallas fell to 9-4, losing to the Bucks 132-125.
Now, some thoughts:
One cold stretch was the main difference in this game
Kyrie Irving exited the game around the eight minute mark in the fourth with Dallas up 109-101. Luka would make a jumper to give Dallas a 10 point lead. Dallas then couldn’t find the basket for over three minutes. Grant Williams missed multiple open threes, Josh Green missed one as well. And because Dallas couldn’t get stops with Dwight Powell in at center, the Bucks went on a massive run to make the game close and eventually close the game out.
Dallas is good but they still have plenty of holes
You’d love to see Dallas win one of these measuring stick games but so far against the NBA’s elite, Dallas is 0-2 falling to both Denver and Milwaukee. Size remains a challenge for Dallas, particularly in the front court. Dallas solved so many problems this off-season, but Grant Williams may have his best future with the Mavericks as a three, not a four. The Mavericks simply need bigger players in these positions to compete with the best teams in the league.
Derrick Jones Jr. was due for an off-night
Jones has been one of the Mavericks most consistent players to start the season, so given his history he was going to come down to earth at some point. Brook Lopez met Jones at the rim early and the guy just couldn’t make a basket. 0-for-7 is brutal, but he’ll bounce back.