The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 121-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers
Mar 17, 2019Dwain Price
ONE WORD — DIRK: Needing 18 points to pass Wilt Chamberlain and become the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history going into Saturday’s game, Dirk Nowitzki inched ever so close to that high-water mark against the Cavs. Nowitzki finished the game with 14 points – one point shy of his season high – six rebounds, a season-high tying two steals and a season-high tying two blocks. With the crowd buzzing, and while playing a season-high 29 minutes, Nowitzki was 5-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range. He now has 31,416 points to 31,419 for Chamberlain.
SOLID OFFENSIVE SHOWING: The Mavs surprisingly had one of their better all-around offensive performances of the season. Surprisingly, because it came with rookie point guard phenom Luka Doncic sitting out the game due to a right knee contusion. Overall, the Mavs were 46-of-90 from the field for a healthy 51.1 percent, and 16-of-35 from behind the 3-point arc for an even healthier 45.7 percent. With Devin Harris dispensing a season-high nine assists and Jalen Brunson adding seven, the Mavs wound up distributing 32 assists. Also, the Mavs turned the ball over just five times.
HARDAWAY CELEBRATES HIS BIRTHDAY: Tim Hardaway Jr. sure knows how to celebrate a birthday. While turning 27 years old on Saturday, Hardaway went out and poured in a game-high 22 points against the Cavs. Hardaway tallied 19 of those points in the first half, which concluded with the Mavs nursing a 66-57 lead. In all, Hardaway converted 8-of-18 shots, and was 4-of-9 from beyond the 3-point line. It’s the second-most points Hardaway has scored since joining the Mavs in that Jan. 31 trade with the York Knicks. He scored 24 points against Portland on Feb. 10.
MAXIMIZING HIS TIME: Maxi Kleber made the 25 minutes he played against the Cavs pay off handsomely and he wound up playing the best game of his career. The second-year forward tallied a season-high 18 points and was 5-of-11 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point territory. The five made field goals ties for the most field goals Kleber has converted in a game this season. In addition, Kleber pulled down a career- and game-high tying 12 rebounds. He also maneuvered his way inside the paint to grab a game-high five offensive rebounds.
FINNEY-SMITH RAINING THREES: Dorian Finney-Smith came out of the gate playing the catch-and-shoot game to near perfection. In a first quarter where the Mavs scored 34 points, nine of them came from Finney-Smith on 3-of-4 baskets from beyond the 3-point arc. As a whole, Finney-Smith contributed 14 points and was 5-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. The four 3-pointers are the most he has made in a game in his career. He also had six rebounds and a career-high six assists. It’s the first 10-point, five-rebound, five-assist game of his career.