The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 146-111. In the first game featuring the Mavericks’ trade deadline acquisitions, Dallas annihilated a very good Thunder team by going absolutely berserk in the second half. Everyone played well, including the new guys, and the Mavericks walked away with what may have been their most impressive victory of the season.
With games against the Wizards and Spurs remaining before the All-Star break, Dallas is suddenly in a very good position. A four-game win streak (that could extend to six) coupled with the good vibes from the new additions has turned things around in a major way. Today’s game was incredibly fun; here are three numbers that tell the story.
33: Combined points for Daniel Gafford, PJ Washington
The prized trade-deadline acquisitions made an immediate impact off the bench for Dallas. Gafford, especially, was enormous, chipping in 19 points, nine rebounds, and a block in just 17 minutes. His presence in the paint on both ends can’t be overstated; he abused Chet Holmgren and gave the Mavericks extra possessions time and time again. Washington looked a bit nervous early on, but quickly settled in and chipped in 14 big points on 6-of-10 shooting. His defense really popped to me, as he held his own against both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the OKC bigs. I was impressed with his footwork and ability to stay in front of guys.
All in all, both new guys gave Dallas more than we could have hoped for in their debuts, and their presence in the lineup no doubt gave everyone in the building some added juice.
+32: Points-in-the-paint differential for Dallas
Who are these guys?? The Mavericks are used to being on the other side of unbalanced differentials like this. It’s genuinely unbelievable that this happened. It speaks to how hard the Mavericks competed on defense to keep guys like Shai out of the paint. It also underscores how the interior presence of Gafford and the versatility of Washington give Dallas another dimension on offense. If they can keep this up, the Mavericks won’t be so reliant on threes falling to win games.
+14: Rebound differential for Dallas
The Mavericks, one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, destroyed Oklahoma City on the boards. To be fair, the Thunder are also a bad rebounding team— but even so, when was the last time Dallas had this kind of edge on the glass? Gafford and Washington combined for 14 rebounds, and Maxi Kleber had a season-high 12 boards.
The Mavericks just had a ton of energy all game long, and their attention to detail in regards to box outs was terrific. Hopefully, this is the start of an upward trend in that department.
31: Minutes for Luka Doncic
Doncic played his fewest amount of minutes since Jan. 3 against Portland (also 31 minutes). He got to rest the entire fourth quarter. This is such a sight for sore eyes, as Doncic had been putting in an entirely unsustainable workload for the last month. The Mavericks are deeper, and now they're getting healthy. With that should come more opportunities to buy Luka some rest. They need him fresh for the stretch run because it looks like Dallas is gearing up to make something happen.
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