When the Mavericks play New Orleans Monday night at American Airlines Center, it will be their 10th game of the still-young season.

In half of those games, they didn’t have Kristaps Porzingis.

Yet they are a win over the Pelicans away from a 7-3 record at the 10-game mark, which is when it becomes acceptable to start drawing some conclusions about the direction of an NBA team.

Yes, it would be the equivalent of only two games in an NFL schedule.

But NBA games fly by. And the Mavericks are doing a little soaring of their own so far.

How so?

Mainly, their foundation has been poured with a one-point win at San Antonio on Wednesday, a buzzer-beating victory over Boston on Saturday and every one of their six victories being by 10 points or less.

Winning close games is a clear sign that a team has some character and some persistence.

And the way the Mavericks have won those games has coach Jason Kidd encouraged.

“These wins, they all count when they go in the left column,” Kidd said. “We’ll take it. Coming off another close win in San Antonio, I think it just shows paying attention to detail down the stretch and being able to execute not just on the offensive end, but the defensive end.

“(Against Boston), it came down Luka having the ball and he delivered. In San Antonio, it was coming up with a stop. So we can grow from this and we can only get better.”

It doesn’t hurt the “getting better” process when you have Luka Dončić. All he did was throw in the game-winner as time expired against the Celtics. He was well covered. He was in his favorite spot on the court.

It was the kind of moment than keep a team churning through the early portions of a long season.

In a game that the Mavericks led by 19 points, the Celtics made a big surge and the Mavericks had to figure out a way to survive.

“They were aggressive, we were kind of passive,” Kidd said. “But we learned from that. We stayed together as a team. You know, it’s easy to pull apart and give in. But accountability and trust (were) at a high level. And we found a way to win at home.”

It’s what the season’s first month is all about. These wins will count exactly the same as the ones in March.

All hail Luka: The Mavericks took a rest day on Sunday, so it was a good time to look back at Dončić’s buzzer beater against the Celtics.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, the superstar point guard now is the only player since 1998 to have four game-winners in the final 2 seconds of games (regular and postseason) before age 23.

“Of course, it’s incredible,” said Porzingis, who returned from back issues to have 21 points against the Celtics. “The guy is so clutch. It’s insane. The step-back threes he’s able to knock down, it’s always fun to watch him play.”

By the way, the Mavericks were a bit surprised when Boston guard Marcus Smart took a foul with 11 seconds left that allowed the Mavericks to hold for the final shot in a tie game.

“That’s on me,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “I’ve got to let everybody know and make sure they know. Obviously (we had) a 5, 6 second differential (and) we want that last shot, so I’ve got to communicate that so everybody knows.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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