Here’s our takeaways from Friday’s 122-114 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Welcomed sight: Kristaps Porzingis would never base much off of his play in the preseason, so we shouldn’t, either. But the show he put on defensively in the first half against the Clippers was no less than impressive. He had three rejections and a pair of steals. That set him up for 15 points in 19 first-half minutes and staked the Mavericks to a 60-56 lead. Porzingis is going to produce on offense. That’s not ever going to change. But if he’s making an impact at the defensive end, then he returns to Unicorn status and could be the difference-maker that the Mavericks need this season.
Triple trouble: So far in the preseason, you might think that maybe it’s a good thing the new coaching staff is stressing fewer 3-pointers for this team. The Mavericks were just 7-of-33 from beyond the arc on Friday (21.2 percent). This came after hitting 36.7 percent in the preseason opener. But take away the Boban Marjanović 2-for-2 outlier and they were 9 of 28, or 32.1 percent. It’s too early for panic with the 3-point shooting. But the Mavericks are no doubt happy this is happening in the preseason.
Chairmen of the boards: OK, anybody who has set foot on Mavs.com knows what a stickler I am for rebounding. And while two preseason games isn’t the sample size that would be considered a solid trend, the Mavericks have retrieved 114 missed shots to just 79 rebounds for their two opponents. Those extra possessions mount up. And while both opponents were without some of their best rebounders (Rudy Gobert, Ivica Zubac) it’s still a great way to gain some confidence in the rebounding department.
Fancy like LeBron: While Eugene Omoruyi is with the team on a two-way contract, he knows he’s still fighting for a roster spot. Two-way players can be replaced at minimal cost. But the 6-6 forward helped his cause immensely with 19 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. He also tried to channel his inner LeBron James with a pass to himself off the backboard, which he caught but was fouled on before he could make the follow shot. Omoruyi said he pulled off the backboard pass successfully once in college against Miami.
They just can’t stop him: Doesn’t matter whether it’s playoffs, regular season or preseason. Luka Dončić cannot be stopped. He’s played the equivalent of one whole game – each of the first halves of the two exhibitions. And he’s rolled up 33 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists in less than 35 minutes. Enough said.