5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 118-97 WIN OVER PELICANS
LUKA DOMINATES AGAIN: On the same day he was named by the NBA as the Western Conference Player of the Month for October and November, Luka Doncic went out and showed why he deserved this prestigious award. In just 28 workmanlike minutes, Doncic scored 33 points, handed out five assists and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds in the Mavs’ victory over the Pelicans. Doncic was in such a zone – OK, when isn’t he in a zone? – that he collected 15 points and 10 rebounds in the third quarter. Only three of the other 20 players who played in this game scored more than 15 points in the entire contest, and none of them had more than eight rebounds. In other words, Doncic was playing chess while everybody else on the Pelicans’ team were playing checkers. Period. End of story.
CURRY’S BREAKOUT GAME: Seth Curry had been searching for a game like this, and he definitely found it Tuesday. The sixth-year veteran guard came off the bench and poured in a season-high 19 points on 6-of-11 shots. Curry also was 5-of-7 from 3-point land, The six field goals and five 3-pointers are the most Curry has made in a game this season. Curry was particularly red-hot in the fourth quarter when he scored 12 points on 4-of-5 buckets from behind the 3-point line. And those four 3-pointers all came during a quick 4-minute, 52-second span as the Mavs went to their dead-eye marksman time and time again, and he delivered. When Curry is stroking it like he was Tuesday, it opens up so many other avenues and makes the Mavs extremely difficult to handle.
PORZINGIS A MENACE ON DEFENSE: For the second time in three games, Kristaps Porzingis had one of those games where he wasn’t a factor on the offensive end of the court, but he was a huge factor on the defense end. Against the Pelicans, Porzingis scored just seven points on 2-of-11 shots and spent much of the night in foul trouble. He also was whistled for a technical foul. But on the defensive end of the floor, Porzingis was like debris clogging up a storm drain as he blocked five shots – four of them in the first quarter to set a great defensive tone – and also grabbed six boards while playing only 18 minutes. In the opener of this three-game road trip last Friday in Phoenix, Porzingis scored just two points while missing all eight of his field goal attempts. However, he blocked three shots, picked up two steals and grabbed 13 rebounds.
ROAD WARRIORS: Who knew the Mavs would spend the first quarter of this season becoming one of the best road teams the NBA has to offer? But surprise, surprise, surprise! With the victory over the Pelicans, the Mavs were able to make a clean sweep of their three-game road trip. It’s the first time the Mavs swept a road trip that consisted of at least three games since Dec. 27-31, 2017 when they beat Indiana, New Orleans and Oklahoma City. On the latest road trip, the Mavs won at New Orleans, at Phoenix (120-113) last Friday, and also went into Los Angeles and upended the Lakers (114-100), who entered that game with a 10-game winning streak and owners of the league’s best record. After winning a mere nine road games last season, the Mavs are already 8-2 on the road this season. The only teams with more wins away from home this season are the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers, who each have nine road victories.
BENCH CAME ALIVE: Thanks to their vaunted bench, the Mavs may have won two games in one night. Ok, let me explain. The Mavs were only nursing an 84-75 lead going into the fourth quarter. And when the fourth quarter started, three of the starters – Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis – were on the bench. Because of the excellent play of the bench players, none of the aforementioned three players got any playing time in the fourth quarter. Also, the other two starters – Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell – were limited to only six and three minutes, respectively, in the fourth quarter. That’s significant because rest was at a premium since the Mavs have a home game tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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