Here are my 5 takeaways from the Dallas Mavericks’ 116-106 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday afternoon at the Fiserv Forum:
1. LUKA’S TRIPLE-DOUBLE: After three close calls, Luka Doncic finally collected his first NBA triple-double. Doncic finished the game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and became the second-youngest player in NBA history to register a triple-double. Doncic was 19 years and 327 days old when he picked up his triple-double, while Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz was 19 years and 317 days old when he recorded a triple-double last April. On Dec. 26, Doncic was one rebound shy of a triple-double against New Orleans. On Jan. 11, he was two rebounds shy of a triple-double against Minnesota. And on Jan. 16, he was two rebounds and two assists shy of a triple-double against San Antonio.
2. JORDAN REBOUNDED FROM SPRAINED ANKLE: DeAndre Jordan only went through the walk-through portion of Sunday’s practice due to a sprained left ankle he suffered during Saturday’s game at Indiana. However, Jordan shrugged off the sprain and put in another yeoman’s performance against the Bucks. Jordan finished the game with 15 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks. It’s the 28th double-double of the season for Jordan, the 39th time he’s collected as least 10 rebounds in a game, and the 21st time he’s pulled down at least 15 rebounds in a contest this season. Also of noteworthy, it was Jordan who scored with 5:26 remaining in the game that gave Luka Doncic his 10th assist to complete his triple-double.
3. BRUNSON’S SOLID GAME: How many times are we going to say that Jalen Brunson plays like he’s been in the NBA for a while? Back in the starting lineup on Monday, the rookie from Villanova finished the game with 16 points, three rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes. At times, when Brunson is directing the Mavs’ offense, it’s as if he’s a wily veteran. He just knows what he’s doing out there on the floor, which has been a bonus for the Mavs. That’s especially true since the Mavs lost J. J. Barea to season-ending right Achilles tendon surgery, and because Dennis Smith Jr. has missed the past six games with either an illness or tightness in the middle of his back.
4. NICE HOMECOMING FOR MATTHEWS: Other than the Mavs getting out of town with a win, Wesley Matthews sure had a nice homecoming. Matthews helped the Mavs to a 59-57 led at the half by pouring in 12 of his 15 points in the second quarter. In the second quarter alone, Matthews stepped into the coveted zone and was 5-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range. But Matthews didn’t just do damage at the offensive end of the floor against the Bucks. He also blocked a career-high four shots, eclipsing his previous career-high of three blocks he had against Golden State on Apr. 13, 2010. Matthews graduated from high school in Madison, WI, and played college ball at Marquette.
5. FINNEY-SMITH FOR THREE: The Mavs always talk about wanting Dorian Finney-Smith to shoot the 3-ball when he’s open, and to shoot it with confidence. That happened Monday as the third-year defensive specialist was 3-of-5 from 3-point range in one of his better games from downtown this season. This ties for the most 3-pointers Finney-Smith has made in a game this year – he’s made three 3-pointers in three other games this season. This also was Finney-Smith’s third-best shooting percentage from downtown this season, topped only by the perfect 3-of-3 night from beyond the 3-point arc that he had against Utah on Nov. 14, and the 3-of-4 night he had from downtown against Washington on Nov. 6.