The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors by a score of 132-122. Luka Doncic led the way for Dallas with 39 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. Stephen Curry and Chris Paul paced the Warriors with 25 and 24 points, respectively.
Dallas executed at a high level offensively in the first quarter, hitting five threes and generating good looks. Luka Doncic had 11 points and 3 assists in the frame, and Josh Green chipped in some productive minutes off the bench with seven points of his own. Warriors superstar Stephen Curry struggled out of the gates, going just 1-for-7 from the floor in the opening period; this allowed Dallas to take a 34-26 into the second.
The non-Luka minutes got off to a rough start in the second quarter, as Golden State cut the lead down to three. But a 13-0 Maverick run, fueled by threes from Grant Williams and Dante Exum, helped Dallas build their lead up to 16. However, Golden State responded with a 12-0 run of their own, negating all the good work Dallas did to gain separation. Thankfully, Luka and the Mavericks steadied themselves and were able to get the lead back to nine by halftime at 63-54.
Dallas and Golden State traded blows throughout the third quarter. Luka Doncic was sensational, scoring 14 in the frame. Steph Curry also started to cook for the Warriors but Dallas had the edge, largely due to more spectacular play from Josh Green. It looked like the Mavericks were on the cusp of pulling away, but back-to-back threes from Warriors’ rookie Brandon Podziemski trimmed the Maverick lead to 12 at 101-89 entering the final period.
The two teams went back and forth to begin the fourth, but Golden State soon went on a mini-run to cut the lead to seven. After a rare appropriately timed timeout from Jason Kidd, Dallas was able to stem the tide. A massive three from Jaden Hardy with five minutes remaining put Dallas up by 11 and despite Chris Paul being annoying and hitting a ton of wide-open threes, Dallas held on for a 132-122 win. It was a much-needed road victory. Here are three things to take away from this one.
Josh Green looked like a different guy
Before Josh Green missed a ton of time with an elbow injury, he was in the midst of a very disappointing season. In his first two games after returning, he was largely invisible— but tonight, Josh Green was the reason the Mavericks won. He scored 18 points off the bench, but even more important than his statistical contributions was the confidence he played with. He was decisive, aggressive, and under control. It was the idealized version of Josh Green, the guy the Mavericks need. Hopefully, Green can build on this and string together some more strong performances.
Dante Exum continues to impress as a starter
The Mavericks’ other Australian guard came into tonight’s game averaging 15 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists as a starter. Tonight was more of the same, chipping 19 huge points and five assists. Exum shot 8-12 from the floor and 3-5 from three. His brilliance at the rim continues to amaze me; he seems to score every single time he gets into the lane. Tonight was interesting, as Exum failed to get all the way to the rim a single time but still hit four out of five shots in floater range. He also just keeps hitting open threes, improving upon his sparkling 44% clip. What a signing. What a player!
Luka Doncic is shooting a lot of jumpers
I’m not going to sit here and criticize Doncic after the line he put up tonight. But this game was another example of his extreme reliance on jump shots relative to the rest of his career. Tonight, Doncic attempted just three shots in the paint; he hit them all. The rest of his points came from threes, middies, and free throws. And look, he’s been hitting the jumpers at a very efficient rate this year. Because of that, it’s hard to be upset that he’s launching nearly 10.5 threes a game. But Doncic is also automatic at the rim, and it would be nice to see him get there a bit more. I understand the defenses he’s facing are making this difficult. And maybe the Mavericks are trying to save Doncic’s body for the playoffs. Whatever they’re doing is working as long as Doncic continues hit jumpers; it’s just something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.