5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 123-100 WIN OVER HAWKS
BRUNSON BALLING OUT: There’s this coolness about Jalen Brunson that equates minutes played to tremendous production. Saturday night was yet another example, because for every minute the second-year guard was on the court, he produced at least one point. Brunson played 27 minutes and tallied 19 of his season-high 27 points in the first half. He finished the game 12-of-22 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point territory. A cool-hand-Luke type of player with incredible patience, Brunson also handed out eight assists and grabbed four rebounds in a solid all-around game.
FINNEY-SMITH TIES CAREER HIGH: More and more this season, Dorian Finney-Smith has proven that the jump shot he didn’t have earlier in his career is no longer a topic of conversation. The Mavs have called Finney-Smith’s number numerous times for offensive production, and the fourth-year forward has delivered. Against the Hawks, Finney-Smith was 7-of-13 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc, and also tied his career high in points with 22. In addition, he grabbed seven rebounds, dispensed a season-high tying four assists and picked up a pair of steals.
NO LUKA, NO PORZINGIS, NO PROBLEM: For those who were nervous going into Saturday’s game because the Mavs were about to take on one of the worst teams in the NBA without Luka Doncic (sprained right ankle) and Kristaps Porzingis (left knee injury recovery), there obviously was no need for concern. Not only did they Mavs score the most points they’ve scored since getting 133 at Portland on Jan. 23, they also shot 46.8 percent from the field, 51.3 percent from 3-point land (20-of-39), and outrebounded the Hawks, 53-50. The Mavs are now 11-0 this season when they’ve made at least 18 three-pointers in a game.
CARLISLE JOINS EXCLUSIVE CLUB: With Saturday’s win, coach Rick Carlisle became just the 13th coach in NBA history to win at least 500 games with one franchise. The others are Gregg Popovich (San Antonio), Jerry Sloan (Utah), Red Auerbach (Boston), Red Holzman (New York), Phil Jackson (Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers), John MacLeod (Phoenix), Alvin Attles (Golden State), Erik Spoelstra (Miami), Don Nelson (Milwaukee), Pat Riley (Los Angeles Lakers), Gene Shue (Washington) and Rudy Tomjanovich (Houston). Carlisle was hired by the Mavs on May 9, 2008.
CAULEY-STEIN GOT HIS FEET WET: Center Willie Cauley-Stein finally got his feet wet on Saturday with the Mavs, and the results went swimmingly. Acquired on Jan. 25 in a trade with the Golden State Warriors, Cauley-Stein started for the first time as a Maverick against the Hawks and scored seven points, collected a team-high 10 rebounds, blocked two shots and altered numerous others in 26 minutes. Coach Rick Carlisle said: “His presence around the rim in rebounding and shot-blocking was really big at some key times. He’s doing well, he’s doing very well. He’s helping us a lot.”