Here’s our five takeaways from the Mavericks’ 121-114 win over Minnesota Wednesday at American Airlines Center, their fourth victory in a row and ninth in the last 10 games.
Try, try again: For three quarters, the Mavericks couldn’t hit the pillow with their heads. By the time they reached the fourth quarter against the Wolves, they were 4-of-26 on 3-point shooting. They would miss their first heave of the final period, too. Not surprising that they trailed 86-82 at the time. Then, they caught fire from beyond. They would hit seven of their last 10 3-pointers and would post 41 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. And it was a group effort. Five Mavs hit 3-pointers in the final 12 minutes, with Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber each making both of their attempts. And by the way, the Wolves did not hand this victory to the Mavericks. They were 5-of-8 from 3-point range and rolled up 30 fourth-quarter points. Only the Mavericks’ offensive greatness late saved them in this one.
Out of nowhere, Doe-Doe erupts: For the first 35-minutes, 30-seconds of the game, Dorian Finney-Smith had no points and no rebounds in 17 minutes. Then he came flying in from the wing for a one-hand, grab-and-dunk offensive rebound that brought Mavericks within 84-80 going into the fourth quarter. It was a momentous play that sparked a huge fourth quarter. So how did Finney-Smith do it? “A little football move, a swim move,” Finney-Smith said. “You got to do what you got to do. It’s a battle down there. That pretty much got people going. Added coach Rick Carlisle: “He’s got a real gift. You can tell guys – crash the boards. You can’t teach the feel and the anticipation and the tenacity he has for going after offensive rebounds. He’s made uncanny plays all four years he’s been here. Those possessions of the ball especially on the second night of the back-to-back are really, really big.”
Quirky statistics: The Mavericks have been a much better rebounding team this season and Wednesday was a great example of why. Ten Mavs played in the game. All 10 had at least three rebounds. When you factor in that the Mavericks had only nine turnovers, that’s a major win in the ball-possession department. And, while 3-point shots are all the rage in this generation of the NBA, it’s worth noting that they were 35-of-55 on shots inside the arc. That’s nearly 64 percent, which is the equivalent of shooting 43 percent from 3-point range.
Dodging a bullet: The Mavericks held their breath when Dwight Powell came out of a collision under the basket holding his left forearm/wrist. He had X-rays and no structural damage was found. It may hinder Powell or cost him a game or games. But there is no debating the fact that Powell will not miss any time if it’s not an absolute necessity. “This thing with Powell, knowing him, if we were a hand-stand team, he’d probably still want to be in the starting lineup of that with his banged-up arm,” said Carlisle. “That’s how much he cares about the team and winning.”
Hanging tough: Luka Doncic got flustered by the lack of whistles blown against the Wolves and picked up a technical foul in the third quarter. He looked at the bench and said: “I’m cool.” That didn’t keep Carlisle from taking Doncic out of the game. When he returned with under 5 minutes left, he would score seven points, including four from the free-throw line. It was a focused response to what was overall a difficult night. “
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