The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Denver Nuggets 118-109. This game sends them to the break on a three-game losing streak, but hopefully with greener pastures ahead. Maxi Kleber is nearing his return, and Dallas will kick off the home stretch of the season with six straight home games.
Predictably, Luka Doncic led Dallas with 37 points on 12-of-22 shooting. Christian Wood played off the bench and didn’t have much impact early, but did spearhead a run in the fourth with 13 points in the quarter as Dallas flirted with a comeback, but never got closer than 10 until the final seconds.
Nikola Jokic notched yet another triple-double with a workmanlike 14-12-10 line. Six Nuggets scored in double digits, but it was Michael Porter Jr. who led the way with 22.
What did we learn?
It’s Dallas’ last game before the All-Star break. Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans, and Maxi Kleber were all out. Christian Wood was a game-time decision because of an illness. We didn’t even get to see the newest Maverick Justin Holiday get any run, as he joined the Mavericks for the first time just a few hours before tipoff. So what’s the takeaway from this game?
(warning: R-rated language)
In all seriousness, limping into the break on a three-game losing streak isn’t the best fodder for positive vibes, but essentially since the trade deadline and addition of Irving, this team has been in dire need of an extended break. Both to heal up and also to get some time to integrate the more up-tempo style that Kyrie provides. It’s all been a work in progress, and hopefully, they come out of the other side of All-Star Weekend feeling revamped.
All out of Holiday, best I can do is A.J. Lawson
When it was announced Justin Holiday joined the team in Denver, fans’ ears perked up. When no less than Marc Stein said fans could expect to see the first action of Holiday in a Maverick uniform, the anticipation was palpable. Fans across the metroplex were defacing Josh Richardson #0 jerseys with hand-written “Holiday.” But it was all for naught. We got to see some A.J. Lawson, though, which was pretty cool.
There are worse things than getting NBA minutes for a 6’6, 22-year-old wing in a game where your lineup is thin. He scored 10 points on a tidy 4-of-6 shooting and 2-of-3 from deep. With Dorian Finney-Smith gone, Dallas is in need of both another wing as well as an undrafted, feel-good, home-grown talent to come up through the system.
Just as the idea of a fun new rotation player was taking shape, Lawson went out late in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He had snagged a steal and took it the length of the court solo, only to miss the layup and land awkwardly under the basket. To the All-Star break we go.
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