5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE MAVS’ 107-104 WIN OVER CELTICS
The legend of Luka Doncic continues to grow as the fourth-year point guard used his magic to bury a three-pointer at the buzzer, which allowed the Dallas Mavericks to upend the Boston Celtics, 107-104, on Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
It was the third buzzer-beating game-winner for Doncic, tying him with Dirk Nowitzki for the most in Mavs’ history. He also scored 33 points and now has 63 career games with 30 or more points.
Here are our five takeaways from Saturday’s game.
DONCIC AT THE BUZZER: First of all, everyone needs to just stop saying: “Can you believe it” whenever Luka Doncic makes one of those eye-popping, game-winning, step-back three-pointers. Believe it! Because this is what he does. It’s right there on his DNA chart. Google it. Doncic lives for those occasions where he takes your breath away with his theatrics. And he choreographed yet another goose-bump moment on Saturday when his step-back three-pointer at the buzzer snapped a 104-104 tie and won this game for the Mavs in dramatic fashion. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when someone shows you a side of them the first time, believe them. And when it comes to Luka, believe him, because knocking down game-winners is what he does.
PORZINGIS A HUGE FACTOR: Kristaps Porzingis showed very little signs of rust after missing the previous five games with lower back tightness. After scoring six points in the first half, the 7-3 forward tallied 15 points in the second half and finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. In 28 minutes, Porzingis was 7-of-13 from the field. In the palm-sweating fourth quarter, he also tallied more points (10 on 4-of-6 shots) than any other player. Porzingis, in fact, converted four of the 11 baskets the Mavs made in the fourth quarter. He also negotiated a much-needed put-back dunk that knotted the game at 104 apiece with 1:29 remaining. In addition, Porzingis collected over half (four) of the seven offensive rebounds the Mavs recorded during this game.
ANOTHER CLOSE SHAVE: So far, this season has been a wild ride for the Mavs and their fans. The Mavs are winning the close games and losing the not so close ones. That was the case again Saturday when Luka Doncic provided the dramatics with his three-pointer at the buzzer that beat the Celtics by three points. That game came two days after the Mavs won in San Antonio by the slimmest of margins (109-108). The Mavs are now 4-0 in games decided by six points or less and 5-0 in games decided by eight points or less. (The Mavs are 0-3 in games decided by 15 or more points, but let me get back to proving my point). When the game is close, the Mavs must feel confident they’ll find a way to survive and come out on top. It happened again against the Celtics.
BRUNSON STEADY (THIS TIME) OFF THE BENCH: After starting – and starring – in the previous two games, Jalen Brunson went back to his customary role of coming off the bench and providing a spark. Brunson finished with 13 points – all in the first half – five rebounds and five assists, and was 6-of-12 from the field. And despite coming off the bench, Brunson played 35 minutes, which tied him with Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. for the most minutes played by any member of the Mavs on Saturday. All of this came after Brunson started the two previous games against the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs and scored 56 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in games played on consecutive nights. The Mavs showed how valuable Brunson is by having him on the court for 11 of the 12 fourth-quarter minutes.
BULLOCK WAS BULLISH: Reggie Bullock has been rapidly finding his way around the Mavs’ offense, and where he can fit in. But based on what transpired against Boston, mission accomplished. Against the Celtics, not only did Bullock display the shooting skills that helped the New York Knicks advance to last season’s playoffs. He also showed why the Mavs signed him to a free agent contract over the offseason. Bullock came up big against the Celtics, scoring 13 points and snatching three rebounds. He was 5-of-11 from the field and 3-of-8 from three-point range. In addition, when the Celtics were putting heat on the Mavs and rallying from a 19-point deficit, Bullock played 10 minutes in the fourth quarter and drilled a pair of crucial three-pointers.