Our takeaways: Mavs stood their ground in third game in four days against the owners of the NBA’s best record
Nov 12, 2019Dwain Price
MAVS ALMOST OVERCAME PORZINGIS’ STRUGGLES: The Mavs got a glimpse of what might transpire whenever one of their superstars is having a bad day at the office. In this case, Kristaps Porzingis was just 1-of-11 from the field and finished with four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes. Porzingis also left the game for good with five fouls with 9:04 remaining. However, proving once again that their depth is impeccable, the Mavs were still ahead, 92-90, with 6:12 to go, before plummeting down the stretch. But seeing the Mavs stand tall when their superstars are having an off-night should come as no surprise. Remember back on Oct. 29 when the Mavs went to Denver and beat the Nuggets, 109-106, in arguably the toughest arena in the NBA? That’s the game where Luka Doncic and Porzingis combined to score just 22 points on 7-of-26 shooting. And the Mavs still won.
KLEBER A THROWBACK: It’s been said many times before that Maxi Kleber is one of those throwback type of NBA players who would have even been a success back in the 1980’s and 90’s when the league had a more physical tone to it. Kleber made his fourth start of the season Monday night and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. He also masterfully was 4-of-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. The four 3-pointers tied his career high, as did his eight attempts. A three-year veteran out of the same city — Wurzburg, Germany – that produced the great Dirk Nowitzki, Kleber now has scored 10 or more points in five of the nine games he’s played in this season.
POWELL HAD A MAJOR IMPACT: Known as the Mavs’ resident energizer bunny, Dwight Powell came off the bench Monday night and did what he does best. He brought loads of energy with him — the kind the Mavs needed to stay within shouting distance of the Celtics. Powell was so effective that of the 22 players who participated in the game, his +20 plus/minus was second only to the +27 manufactured by Boston center Daniel Theis. Overall, Powell collected 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and he also blocked one shot in 30 minutes. In addition, Powell was very effective from the field as he made six of his seven field goal attempts for a sizzling 85.7 percent.
MAVS STOOD THEIR GROUND: Playing their third game in four days, the Mavs actually didn’t fare that badly, considering the circumstances. After all, the Celtics are undefeated at home and also have the best record in the NBA. Additionally, Boston has three top-notch players in Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. (A fourth, Gordon Hayward, sat out with a fractured left hand). Plus, Flower Mound Marcus High School product Marcus Smart is a menace on defense and an efficient scorer from long range. So, for the Mavs to have a one-point lead in this very physical game with under six minutes left when Kristaps Porzingis was struggling mightily says more about the upside of this team than about what they weren’t able to do on the road against one the NBA’s elite teams.
GAME TOOK ON A PHYSICAL TONE: This game didn’t rise to the level of chippy status, where harsh words were exchanged between the players. But it still was arguably the most physical game that Mavs have been involved in this season. Coach Rick Carlisle said: “This was a very tough physical game, very physical from the very beginning, more physical than we’ve really seen with the exception of maybe the (Los Angeles) Lakers’ game (on Nov. 1).” The Mavs were whistled for 26 fouls and went to the free throw line 28 times. The Celtics were charged with 27 personal fouls and also attempted 25 free throws. Following an official’s review, Mavs point guard Luka Doncic was assessed a Flagrant-1 foul after he made inadvertent contact with Boston center Daniel Theis with 4:52 remaining in the game.