The Mavericks finish the week 3-1 with wins in Memphis and Portland, and at home against the Lakers. They lost at home to the Timberwolves and currently have a record of 16 wins and nine losses. Dallas is in third place in the West, 3.5 games back of first.
The Mavericks had some good moments this past week. The win against the Lakers was gutty and showcased what Dante Exum can bring to the team. The wins in Portland and Memphis were shorthanded but convincing. They opened the game against the Timberwolves well, but missed shots down the stretch and could not overcome Minnesota’s stout defense.
The Mavericks picked up three conference wins and one divisional win this week. Two through ten in the West are separated by 3.5 games so being able to beat Western Conference opponents is very important. Slowly but surely this Mavericks team is picking up quality wins and gaining momentum to be recognized as a real contender to make the conference finals.
Straight A’s: Nico Harrison
Derrick Jones Jr. and Dante Exum have continued to give Dallas good minutes. They were the last two signings of the off-season but have been two of the more impactful players thus far. Exum is averaging 17 points and five assists in six games as a starter, while Jones Jr. has started every game he has played except one, scoring 9.7 points and shooting over 36 percent from three.
Grant Williams was the Mavericks’ “big” off-season acquisition and although he has had some rough patches, he has been solid in his role. Derek Lively has been sensational and Olivier-Maxence Prosper has shown flashes in limited minutes as well. Even Seth Curry has given Dallas good minutes.
All of these players were acquired this past summer and are direct products of now second-year general manager Nico Harrison’s ability to scout. The Mavericks have missed on the margins a lot in recent years, but they have hit a home run with their signings this season. Harrison deserves a lot of credit for not only finding good players to put around his stars but for effectively turning the direction of the franchise around.
Currently Failing: Health
Derek Lively hurt his ankle against Portland Saturday night, which brings the number of Dallas starters on the injury report to two. Kyrie Irving has been out since the previous meeting against the Blazers and now the Mavericks find themselves down two big men and two guards. With matchups against the Nuggets, Clippers, Rockets, Spurs, and Suns all in the next week, the Mavericks will need a little luck to finish that stretch with two wins.
Extra Credit: Luka Doncic
Doncic now has 10 consecutive games scoring 30 or more, a franchise record. He also now has the most 35-point games in Mavericks history, when he accrued his 79th such game on Saturday, eclipsing Dirk Nowitzki’s 78. Doncic is on a tear right now and deserves to be the front-runner for MVP. It’s also worth noting that he has averaged over 36 points and 11 assists since putting on his headband every night.