What a great way to start out the second half of the 2018-2019 NBA season. Coming into this game with a record of 19-22 through the first 41 games of the season, the Mavs are not where they want to be, tied for 13th in the West. Luka Dončić and company have shown promise of being a playoff team over their first 41 games, proving that they can compete with the best in the league, but turnovers and inconsistency have led to the sub .500 record.
In game 42 Friday night against the Timberwolves in Minnesota the Dallas Mavericks played hard all game, moved the ball without turning it over, and earned a tough road win against a surging Wolves team. The Mavericks 25 assists with only 7 turnovers is the style of basketball Mavs fans have been calling for.
Scary moment with 6:30 left in the 4th quarter where JJ Barea finished a layup down the middle of the lane, crashing into the basket stanchion. JJ immediately winced in pain and reached for his achilles. There are already report that the Dallas Mavericks believe that JJ Barea tore his right achilles. This is a sad turn of events and a huge blow for the Mavericks. You never want to see injuries, especially to a Mavericks legend and Champion like JJ Suave. I have made it clear how I feel about JJ Barea’s impact on the Dallas Mavericks second unit (JJ Barea 6th Man of the Year Candidacy Submission), he will surely be missed for the rest of this season as they try to make a push for the playoffs.
The injury to JJ Barea should provide more of an opportunity for Jalen Brunson to play meaningful minutes. Aside from Luka Doncic, coming into this season Jalen Brunson was the most accomplished rookie in the league. In 3 years at Villanova, Brunson won two National Championships, 2018 Big East Player of the Year, 2018 consensus All-American, and 2018 Naismith Player of the Year averaging 19 points and 4.6 assists on only 1.8 turnovers per game. Just like Luka, Jalen Brunson does not seem like a rookie. He is always composed, controls the tempo like a veteran, and makes his teammates better. The loss of JJ Barea will be impactful, but thanks to an amazing 2018 draft by the Mavs, it will be exciting to see what rookie Jalen Brunson can accomplish with those minutes.
Down the stretch in the fourth of quarter of this game Karl-Anthony Towns was simply unstoppable. He punished Powell, Kleber, and Jordan on his way to racking up 12 fourth quarter points and putting the Wolves up 111-110 with 1:41 left in the game. Then it was Luka time…
Luka Dončić scored 7 of the Mavericks final 9 points in the game including a go-ahead driving dunk with 57 seconds left. Then after a Taj Gibson tip in and the Mavs in-bounding from halfcourt, Luka threw the ball away to a pressing Taj Gibson. Hustle from Maxi Kleber, Luca Doncic, and DeAndre Jordan led to a quick steal and a 4 on 5 run-out by the Mavs. Luka crosses half court with the ball, Mavs down 1 with less than 30 seconds on the clock, calm and collected he pulls up from 28 feet and knocks down the game-winning 3 right over the outstretched arms of Karl-Anthony Towns. A Mavericks defensive stand and two Harrison Barnes free throw later and the Mavs had their fourth road win of the season.