Final: Mavs 126, Warriors 91

  • What an evening for the Mavericks, who desperately needed a game like this to help steady the ship. Times haven’t been easy for Dallas the last month-plus, but everything seemed to work perfectly tonight, against the two-time defending champions of all teams. The Mavs notched a 35-point road win, just the third time this decade that they’ve won a game away from home by that many points. Interestingly, one of those other instances also came this season, when Dallas won by 38 in Charlotte. This was a wire-to-wire win for Dallas, which led by 19 points after 10 minutes, 28 at halftime, and 38 after three quarters, and the game was full of milestone stats. The club’s 108 points after three frames represented the eighth-highest total after 36 minutes in franchise history. The Mavs made 21 3-pointers, one off the franchise record. Luka Doncic recorded a triple-double in 26 minutes. Dirk and Ryan Broekhoff recorded season-highs in scoring. Jalen Brunson’s +31 rating (in just 24 minutes) is the third-best mark in a game by any rookie this season. Any way you slice it, this was an overwhelmingly positive performance for Dallas up and down the entire roster.

  • Doncic notched his sixth triple-double of the season, recording 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in just 27 minutes of work. He bagged four 3-pointers, too, moving him into fourth place on the all-time 3-pointers made by a rookie list with 161. Next up is Steph Curry with 166. It’ll likely take him at least a couple games to get there, and beyond that there is only Damian Lillard (185) and Donovan Mitchell (187). With just nine games left this season, it’s going to be very difficult for Doncic to reach them, but don’t count him out.

    One area Doncic has shown a great deal of promise is as the ball-handler in transition. It feels like he’s gotten better and better at scoring in the open floor as the season has worn on, but it’s tough to track statistically. At any rate, he’s beginning to show a top gear when he gets inside the 3-point line, and the combination of acceleration and his considerable strength allow him to pull off plays like this one, which only a few other players can also make.

    Dallas hasn’t been a heavy transition team this season, but moving forward I would not be surprised to see Doncic push the tempo more and more, especially after a turnover like in the play above or off a defensive rebound he pulls down himself. Gathering the rebound and pushing immediately, rather than waiting for the outlet pass, might only save one second, but that second could make all the difference when you’re sprinting toward the rim.

  • Dirk Nowitzki became just the eighth 40-year-old in NBA history to score at least 20 points in a game. Poetically, he dropped 21 points tonight, one for every season he’s been with the Mavericks. He wasted no time getting going, scoring 10 in the first quarter.

    Whether or not Nowitzki returns for a 22nd season, this was definitely his final game at Oracle Arena, as the Warriors are moving across the Bay and into a brand-new arena in San Francisco next season. Oracle was the site of Nowitzki’s first field goal, way back in 1999, and is also home to a hole in the wall he’s responsible for, adorned with a “We Believe” shirt and his signature. One of those memories is certainly more pleasant than the others, but either way this arena must hold quite a bit of significance to the Big German. It was also his son Max’s fourth birthday, and he and the family were in the building to watch the game. Steve Nash was also there, who works now as a consultant for the Dubs.

    By the way, in the last two weeks he’s had games with 14, 15, and now 21 points. He’s playing better and better.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (29-44) will play the Kings at home on Tuesday. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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