The Dallas Mavericks won at home Wednesday night, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 116-101. The duo Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic led Dallas with the former scoring 26 and grabbing 17 rebounds and the latter scoring 27, securing nine rebounds and sharing nine assists. Donte DiVincenzo scored a team high 22 for the Bucks in defeat.
Facing a Milwaukee team without Gianni’s Antetokounmpo, the Dallas Mavericks came out against the Bucks, who looked tired. Dallas was the second night in a back-to-back and lost in Houston last night, taking a few minutes to look awake. After not seeing the ball in the fourth quarter against the Rockets, Kristaps Porzingis got repeated early appearances and scored on three out of six shots and a couple of free throws. Luka Doncic also looked early on in his game, but a kind of toe injury briefly forced him out of the game. The bench unit, usually potent, missed many open looks and gave up the lead. The Mavericks followed after a quarter, 31
The two teams played it close in the second, where Brook Lopez looked like prime Dirk Nowitzki and Donte DiVincenzo turned into Ray Allen. Despite Tim Hardaway and Jalen Brunson fighting for bench, the Mavericks were within reach. An agile Luka Doncic posted and kicked out to Porzingis in three and a Porzingis offensive rebound late in the quarter made things interesting. And despite some very bad missed calls from the referees, two Doncic drives pulled to finish half the Mavericks within one. Dallas drove half of 56-55.
Things really started to click in the third quarter, with the Mavericks coming back again and again. But every time the Bucks responded. Dallas took an 80-72 lead with 1:58 left in the quarter for only having Luka Doncic in the game and flipping the ball three times. Tim Hardaway added one of his own just before the end of the quarter, and Milwaukee scored 12 just in minutes. Dallas drove 84-80 en route into the fourth.
For a period of time, it felt as if the bowel movement Mavericks held out to finish the third maybe hangover them through the fourth. Then Dorian Finney-Smith broke the seal on her game long three-point drought. Then Luka Doncic found Porzingis for his own three-pointer. Then they are paired again to take the lead. On the following offensive possession, Porzingis grabbed an offensive board and slammed it down. From there, the game was all over Dallas. A lead of four points jumped up to two digits, and Dallas took the matter home. The Mavericks walk away with a 116-101 victory over Milwaukee.
Now some thoughts
The final statement
In my opinion, it’s been a while since the Dallas Mavericks came in fourth down and continued to blow an opponent out. Dallas outscored the Bucks in the final frame, 36-17. The charge was led by Kristaps and his 11 points, an appropriate performance after he saw the ball once last night against the Rockets.
One under discussed aspect of the loss last night was how little actual offense the Mavericks seemed to run late in the game against the Rockets, while tonight they actually used their two best players … are you ready for this … at the same time. And it worked. Who could have guessed. More games and more ball movement, less isolation, everyone will be happy.
There’s a lot of data on why offensive rebounding is no longer something in the NBA, but hell, if I understand any of it. When I stare at the box’s score, what’s popping up from the side for me are the six offensive rebounds from Kristaps Porzingis and the five from Dorian Finney-Smith. When you see Porzingi’s crashing boards, he adds energy to his game, which is harder to get past when he is the pop man who picks and rolls.
I’m sure there’s some game plan and opponent dependent stuff going on as to how often or willing Dallas is to attach the offensive glass, but if you go to the game logs for Porzingis and sort by his offensive rebound when he has or more Mavericks tend to win the last time I checked.
The Mavericks survived without their bench combination being a major factor
Before the game, the Bally Sports broadcast had a segment about Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway, and how effective they have been off the bench this season. Of course, it would follow that the two would throw a 5-18 shooting performance out after specific focus. But for the first time in what feels like weeks, the Mavericks survived an evening from both guards and walked away with a win.
Bonus point: Porzingis drove to the right and thumped!
One of my favorite twitterbits screams that Porzingis dribbles back to nowhere. He is right-handed, huge and skilled and he does not love to walk right for some reason. So when he pounded the hell out of the ball in the second quarter, I think I shook a guard along the way and yelled at my TV. More, please.