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Stats Rundown: 6 numbers from a back-and-forth affair and 129-117 Mavericks loss to the Bucks

Dallas blew a 25-point lead, no matter who was or wasn’t available to play.

Milwaukee Bucks v Dallas Mavericks
Josh Green #8 of the Dallas Mavericks passes as Bobby Portis #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks defends during the first half at American Airlines Center on February 03, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks (26-23) got out to a 25-point first-quarter lead and then promptly gave it all back to the Milwaukee Bucks (33-16) Saturday at American Airlines Center. The Bucks came back on the Mavs for a 129-117 win, the Bucks’ first under new head coach Doc Rivers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 or more against the Mavs for the second straight game and led all scorers with 48 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard added 30 points and eight assists on a ridiculous 10-of-11 shooting. After a first-quarter injury scare, Luka Dončić fought hard, except on the defensive end at times, and finished with 40 points, 11 assists and nine boards to lead the Mavericks.

The Mavs finished the first quarter on an 11-0 run to sprint out to a gaudy 44-20 lead after one. Not to be outdone, the Bucks finished the second quarter on a 15-0 run of their own, capped by Lillard’s deep 3-pointer from the wing with just a second left before halftime. It was assisted by Antetokounmpo, who got out with a head of steam in transition on the half’s final possession.

Dallas led by just five, up 65-60 at the break.

Milwaukee built a lead of its own in the third before the Mavs cut it to just one, down 93-92 heading to the fourth. But Dallas was always a piece away from winning this game, as Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II and Dante Exum all sat with injuries against one of the teams with the most offensive firepower in the league. The Bucks were able to simply outlast the beleaguered Mavs down the stretch, and Lillard took the reins at Dame Time.

Here are six stats that stood out from the back-and-forth affair that ended in another frustrating loss to Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.

9-for-11, then 3-for-20: Mavs’ streaky 3-point shooting

The Mavs’ fortune has swung with their ability to shoot it from distance all season. Generally speaking, they win when they shoot it well and don’t when they don’t. In the loss to the Bucks, the Mavs made nine of their first 11 3-point attempts before going ice cold across the second and third quarters.

The Mavericks hit nine of their first 11 3-point attempts in the first quarter as Dallas raced to a 44-20 lead after one. Dončić missed the team’s last three 3-pointers of the quarter and the Mavs were still a scorching 9-of-14 from deep in the first quarter.

Milwaukee Bucks v Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks is defended by Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at American Airlines Center on February 03, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Mavericks’ franchise record for 3-pointers made in a quarter is 10. They’ve hit 10 in a quarter seven times, including three times last season. The nine 3-pointers Dallas hit in the first quarter Saturday are tied for the most in a quarter for the team this year. They also hit nine in the second quarter of the Mavs’ 130-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

But Dallas went a miserable three for their next 20 stretching late into the third quarter, as Milwaukee first chipped away at the Dallas lead in the second quarter then built a lead of their own in the third.

The Mavericks ended up shooting 16-of-39 from 3-point land (41%) overall in the loss. Going into this game the Mavs had been 21-7 when they made at least 15 3-pointers.

21: Dallas turnovers

Dallas turned the ball over 21 times in the loss to Milwaukee. That’s simply too many on a night when the Mavericks were missing three key pieces on offense, and facing one of the stoutest offensive teams in the league.

The margin for error was simply too thin for the Mavs to turn the ball over that many times. Eight of those turnovers came in the third quarter, which helped the Bucks take control of the game. The Bucks outscored the Mavs 19-12 in transition and 25-4 off turnovers.

47-to-42: Mavs’ rebounding edge

You read that right. The Mavericks out-rebounded someone. The Mavs out-rebounded a pretty good rebounding team in the Milwaukee Bucks 47-42 Saturday. One of the things that makes this loss really frustrating is that the Mavs lost despite winning the rebounding battle with a really good rebounding team in the Bucks.

21-6: Bucks’ crucial third-quarter run

The Bucks took control of the game over a nearly six-minute span in the third quarter, when they outscored the Mavs 21-6 to turn a 73-64 Dallas lead into an 85-79 advantage for Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Bucks v Dallas Mavericks
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots as Maxi Kleber #42 of the Dallas Mavericks defends during the second half at American Airlines Center on February 03, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton keyed the extended run with 15 combined points during that six-minute stretch. Dallas was able to stay connected, though, and Antetokounmpo’s furious last-second drive in transition gave the Bucks a slim 93-92 lead after three.

44: First-quarter Mavs’ points

The torrid shooting to start the game, especially from Josh Green (2-of-2), Maxi Kleber (2-of-2) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (2-of-3), helped the Mavericks have one of their best starts to a game all season. They scored 44 points in the first quarter.

The Dallas Mavericks have only scored more than 44 points in a quarter 12 times in team history, and just twice this year. Dallas scored 45 points in the third quarter of their 144-119 win over the Spurs on Dec. 23 and 47 in the second quarter of the team’s 144-126 win over the Clippers.

Dončić scored 14 points in the first quarter on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

21: Season-high scoring for Maxi Kleber

Kleber got off to a hot start Saturday, scoring eight points in the game’s first three minutes and hitting 4-of-7 on his 3-point attempts on his way to a season-high 21 points. He also had a couple steals in his 34 minutes, which was also a season-high.

Kleber has only scored 20 or more points in five games in his career. In fact, his 21 points Saturday were the most he’s scored in a game since 2020. And somehow his final shot attempt, an air-balled 3-point attempt that went woefully off-line, is the thing we’ll see on repeat in our mind’s eye when we think of this game.

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