If the Mavericks keep winning seven of every 10 games, they’ll finish the season with 57 wins.

Anybody got a problem with that?

Didn’t think so.

Of course, we all know it won’t be that easy. It’s harder to do when you actually have to go out and execute that game plan.

But so far, the Mavericks have done what they need to do, including their 108-92 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday at AAC.

Here’s our takeaways from that solid showing.

DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE: The Mavericks are 10th in the NBA in points allowed at 104.7 and have inched up to 12th in overall defensive rating. That won’t strike fear into the ’89 Pistons. But it’s an improvement on last season and how they started this season. Four of their 10 opponents have been stifled, scoring under 100 points. Of course, scoring is down. Denver, which has the second-best defensive rating in the league, has held seven of 10 opponents under 100. But the Mavericks’ defense has been the equal of teams like Utah and Golden State, both of whom have held four of 10 opponents under 100. Doing so simply makes winning easier on nights when the offense isn’t necessarily humming. It’s clearly helping that they have players like Reggie Bullock, Frank Ntilikina and Sterling Brown, who genuinely enjoy getting their hands dirty on defense.

ROTATION SET – FOR NOW: As we all know, an 82-game NBA season includes plenty of twists and turns. When one player sits on the bench for two weeks, he could just as easily be thrust into the rotation in the next game. That’s just the nature of the league. But in the first few weeks, the playing rotation has been pretty consistent, injuries notwithstanding. The starters are going to be Luka Dončić, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith. That’s a decent mix of elite scorers and dirty workers. Off the bench, it’s been Jalen Brunson, Reggie Bullock, Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Ntilikina, Sterling Brown and, when the situation calls for it, Boban Marjanović. Not all these guys will play every game. And when Maxi Kleber returns, you have to factor him into the equation. But for now, this is the group that is getting it done.

GLASS CLEANERS: The Mavericks are 5-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent. They are 2-3 when they don’t. Overall, they are averaging a rebound less per game than their opponent, but that’s largely because of the games against Denver and Sacramento when the Mavericks got pummeled on the boards. But during their three-game winning streak, they have won the glass each time.

DO YOU TRUST IT? Of all the numbers that NBA teams have at their disposal these days – and there are more than even they can count – the one that still stirs controversy is the plus-minus number. The win over New Orleans was a great example. The Mavericks were plus-26 when Jalen Brunson was on the floor. They were plus-24 when Frank Ntilikina was on the floor. And they were minus-2 when Luka Dončić was on the floor. “I don’t look at the stat sheet during the game,” coach Jason Kidd said. “Those numbers can lie to you, too. At the end of the day, it’s about playing the right way. And if they do their job, that’s the only thing I’m concentrating on. Not plus-something or minus-something.”

BEST THINGS IN LIFE . . . : They’re supposed to be free, right? But the Mavericks continue to make the least out of their free-throw opportunities. They were just 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) against the Pelicans. Interestingly, Kidd had Dončić shoot a technical free throw, even though he’s making just 70.6 percent from the line (worse than Brunson, Porzingis and Hardaway). The team is making only 71.6 percent, which would be dangerously close to the worst mark in franchise history (70.5 percent in 1992-93) if they keep that up for 82 games. Maybe they’re setting themselves up for “most improved.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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