The supporting cast of the Dallas Mavericks powered the team to its fourth straight win to start the season, as the Mavericks were able to overcome a rough performance from star Luka Dončić and defeat the Chicago Bulls 114-105.
Let’s take a look at a few of the stats that stood out from tonight’s game.
7: Threes made by Grant Williams and Tim Hardaway Jr. (Each)
Grant and Tim were both scorching hot from three-point range in the game, and their ability to pour it on from the outside carried the Mavericks’ offense through any momentary dry spells. Through the first four games of the season, Grant is shooting 55% (16-of-29) on threes, feasting on the open looks created by Luka’s passing and offensive gravity. While Tim made some infuriatingly bone-headed decisions tonight, his four-point play midway through the fourth quarter helped give the team enough momentum to finish with a victory.
6: Turnovers from Luka Dončić
For the second straight game, Luka gave the ball away six times. Because he is such an incredibly inventive passer, it is understandable that some of the risks he takes will result in turnovers, but far too many of Dončić’s passes in the past two games were confoundingly misguided. He often looked flustered by Chicago’s physicality throughout tonight’s game, and the officiating also got in his head at several points.
It is extremely encouraging that the Mavericks were able to win a game in which Luka played so poorly (and Kyrie Irving did not play at all), but if the Mavericks want to continue their winning streak, Luka will need to do a better job of maintaining his composure and taking care of the ball.
6: Assists by Dereck Lively II
Dereck Lively had another fantastic game for the Mavericks, filling up the stat sheet with seven points, thirteen rebounds, two steals, one block, and six assists. The rookie big man’s passing leaped off the screen, as Lively made several impressive assists while rolling to the basket, demonstrating unusual vision and awareness for someone his age and size. Opponents love to trap and blitz Luka Dončić in an effort to slow him down, and the Bulls did it often in tonight’s game.
If Lively is able to consistently convert on the opportunities created by that aggressive defensive strategy by making on-target, timely passes when Luka dumps the ball off to him, opposing coaches might begin to hesitate to send extra defenders Luka’s way.
The Mavericks will look to extend their winning streak on Friday as they take on the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the Mavericks’ first game of the In-Season Tournament.
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