The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 139-103 Friday night in Dallas. The Mavericks were missing Luka Doncic, Grant Williams, Dereck Lively II, Dante Exum and Maxi Kleber. This left the Mavericks with an incredibly undersized lineup, but that proved not to matter in the long run.
The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead thanks to a balanced scoring attack led by Kyrie Irving. The Mavericks ended the first quarter up 12, 38-26. The Trailblazers managed to keep the game close as they actually won the second quarter, going into halftime within single digits of the Mavericks at 62-53.
Then the Mavericks played one of their best quarters of the season with a dominant 40-16 performance that sealed the game. The Mavericks were able to close it out and maintain a 30-plus point cushion throughout the entirety of the fourth quarter. Here are the things to know.
Balance is a beautiful thing
Despite missing so much talent, the Mavericks had an extremely balanced attack. Six players had at least 12 points and all 11 players had at least seven points.
The balance applied to more than scoring though. On a night where Dwight Powell and Olivier Maxence-Prosper were the only players taller than 6’7, the Mavericks were still able to dominate the boards with a gang rebounding effort. Powell, Kyrie Irving and Jaden Hardy led the way with nine rebounds each.
Irving, Hardy and Josh Green also all chipped in with at least five assists in a game in which the ball moved extremely freely.
Youth led the way
Hardy and Green are both important to the Mavericks long-term plans. Whether they develop as players themselves or are used as trade chips, it is important for the Mavericks that both develop well.
Both have had tough years so far, but had really good games tonight. One game against one of the worst teams in the league is not enough to warrant an overreaction, but this is still a very positive step in the right direction.
Scrambling defense leads to offense
The Maverick had 11 steals and eight blocks in this game. Granted, some of those steals were simply ineptitude on the part of the Trail Blazers, but this was an extremely high event game for the Mavericks defensively.
More important than the stats, they were very active defensively, as they knew they needed to cover for some of the missing firepower. This activity led them to be able to get into the open court, where they feasted for 36 fast break points.
Overall, the Mavericks can’t make too much of a win against such a bad team, but it was nice to get a dominant victory while missing so many key pieces.