An interesting moment took place during the Mavericks’ scrimmage at the end of Friday’s practice.
Luka Dončić drove from the wing and put a layup high off the backboard. From seemingly the other side of the Metroplex, Moses Brown flew in and blocked the shot, possibly after it had already hit the backboard, which would have been goaltending.
Dončić immediately complained (to no avail) that the bucket was good, which just goes to show that this level of competitive fight is not limited to games against other teams.
The play came with under 45 seconds left in the scrimmage and Dončić’s white-jerseyed team up by a point. It also set up a riveting finish to the scrimmage, where pride really was the only thing at stake.
Luka made a couple of free throws on the next possession – not a detail to be glossed over – to make it a 3-point lead.
The blue-clad team took the ball and Tim Hardaway Jr. was fouled with 2.4 seconds left. Hardaway missed the first free throw. He then missed the second on purpose hoping for a miracle.
Somehow, the ball bounced out of the crowd right back to Hardaway at the 3-point line. His hurried heave didn’t find the net. But just getting a shot off to try to tie the game in that circumstance was remarkable.
It was all great theater for coach Jason Kidd.
“The ending-of-the-game simulation, you could see how realistic it was,” Kidd said. “Blue ends up getting a look at a 3. I loved that Blue fought all the way to the end. It’s very hard (to get a shot off in that situation).”
It was a sign of just how close the competition is going to be for playing time on this team. Two of the projected starters (Dončić and Kristaps Porzingis) were on the White team. The other three starters were on the Blue team.
Fan Jam set: The Mavericks will practice again Saturday, then have their Fan Jam on Sunday at American Airlines Center.
Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. and Kidd said a 40-minute scrimmage will start at about 1:30 p.m.
Parking in the Lexus Garage and admission are free. All fans will need to be fully vaccinated or have had a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 48 hours.
The Mavericks will have a free vaccine clinic set up for fans who wish to get vaccinated.
Kidd said he will introduce the team at about 1 p.m., then the scrimmage will include two 20-minute halves.
First in line: Kidd said filling out his assistant coaching staff was made a bit easier when Jared Dudley decided to end his playing career.
Dudley had been with the LA Lakers the last two seasons and while he didn’t play much, Kidd, who was on Frank Vogel’s staff, saw Dudley’s value. He just wasn’t sure whether Dudley was going to continue his playing career after 14 seasons.
“When I heard there was a chance he wouldn’t continue playing, I wanted to be first in line to find out if he’d consider coaching,” Kidd said.
“I got to see what he did the last two years in LA being that guy at the end of the bench and having the respect of not only players, but the best players in the world. He was never going to run a 4.5 (40-yard dash), but he just knew how to play. And I thought that having him on my staff was going to be helpful for these younger players.”
Quick hits: Swingmen Frank Ntilikina and Reggie Bullock missed Friday’s workout with what Kidd termed non-COVID-related illnesses. Neither situation is considered to be a long-term concern . . . The Mavericks’ two two-way players, Eugene Omoruyi and JaQuori McLaughlin, both are soaking up a lot of information early in training camp. But the bottom line for them is the opportunity to compete. Said Omoruyi: “I don’t really have nerves. I just want to come out here and compete. Maybe at first (there were some jitters), but now it feels like a normal day.” . . . McLaughlin, who was with Golden State in the summer league, said it was an easy choice for him to choose the Mavericks when it came time to go to a training camp. “Golden State gave me a great opportunity to play some minutes,” he said. “I had a pretty good showing and the Mavericks took a chance on me. They believed in me the most, so that’s why I came here.”