- MORE LUKA MAGIC: After what he was able to accomplish Monday night, the time has come to put Luka Doncic squarely in the middle of the conversation for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award. Doncic not only torched the Spurs for a career-high 42 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists, but he did so in unforgettable fashion. Doncic became the first member of the Mavs to register a triple-double that involved scoring 40 points. He also joined LeBron James as the only players under the age of 21 to manufacture a triple-double that included scoring at least 40 points. James was 20 years and 100 days old when he collected 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists during an Apr. 9, 2005 game. And Doncic was 20 years and 263 days old when he helped power the Mavs to a win over the Spurs.
2. DONCIC IS CLUTCH: There’s no question that Luka Doncic has that clutch gene. No matter the situation, no matter the deficit, no matter the timing of the game, the second-year point guard wants the ball in his hands and wants to be the player who delivers that one earth-shattering moment. It happened again Monday after the Spurs narrowed an 18-point deficit to 112-110. So, what did Doncic do on the Mavs’ ensuing trip up the floor. Dribble, dribble, dribble, and more dribbles . . . and bang! Doncic calmly drilled a dramatic 29-foot step-back 3-pointer that gave the Mavs a 115-110 lead with a 26.5 seconds remaining in the game. And that dagger of a basket came right after Doncic had missed his seven previous 3-point attempts. Afterwards, Doncic said: “I’m not afraid of the moment.”
3.FINNEY-SMITH HAS CAREER NIGHT: Dorian Finney-Smith has been waiting patiently for moments like what occurred Monday night. The fourth-year veteran forward poured in a career-high 22 points, breaking his personal record of 19 points that he scored against the New York Knicks on Nov. 2, 2018. Thus, this was the first 20-point game of Finney-Smith’s career. So, what was his pre-game meal Monday night? “The food they gave us (in the locker room),” Finney-Smith said. “And some Subway.” Finney-Smith was 8-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. The eight made field goals ties a career high that he converted in that aforementioned game against the Knicks. Finney-Smith also produced one of the game’s more memorable plays when forward Kristaps Porzingis fumbled the ball in the air, then had the wherewithal to bat it to Finney-Smith, who barely beat the 24-second shot-clock with a bucket that put the Mavs ahead, 112-107, with 1:14 left in the game.
- SOME STATS DON’T ALWAYS TELL THE TRUE STORY: Depending on who you are, you can always look at postgame stats and make them fit whatever your agenda is, and make one stat appear not as important as another stat. For instance, the Spurs outrebounded the Mavs, 48-41, including a 17-9 edge on the offensive end of the court. In many cases that’s a huge indicator on who will ultimately win the game, but in this case it was not. The Spurs also made two more field goals (44 to 42) than the Mavs, and forced the Mavs into committing 13 turnovers, while San Antonio turned the ball over 10 times. The Spurs also outscored the Mavs in second-chance points, 20-12. But none of that mattered either, especially since the Mavs made seven more free throws –the ultimate difference in the game – than the Spurs. And the Mavs converted 17 shots from 3-point range to just eight for San Antonio.
- PROTECTING THE HOME COURT: After opening the season with three losses in their first five home games, the Mavs are suddenly on fire at American Airlines Center. Coupled with Saturday’s 110-102 victory over the defending world champion Toronto Raptors, the Mavs have now won their last two home games. The games against Toronto and San Antonio were crucial, because they were the first two contests of a pivotal four-game homestand before the Mavs play in Houston on Sunday against a Rockets’ team that has won an NBA season-high eight games in a row. Before facing the Rockets, the Mavs will complete this homestand with Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors (2-12) and Friday’s contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-9). Thus, in theory the Mavs should be traveling to Houston with a very comfortable 10-5 record. But they know they must first remain focused and cross all of their T’s and dot all of their I’s the way they did against the Raptors and Spurs.