There is only one team in the NBA who stands undefeated on the road, the Dallas Mavericks.
The Dallas Mavericks (6-3) defeated Memphis Grizzlies (2-7) 138-122 Saturday night in Memphis. Luka Doncic continues to solidify himself as a top 10 player in this league as he put in 24 points (9-16 shooting), 8 assists, 14 rebounds, and 2 steals. The most important stat of his night, only 2 turnovers. He is averaging 4.9 turnovers per game so hopefully Luka can protect the ball and this number continues to trend down as the season goes on.
The score was 31-34 at the end of the 1st quarter while the Mavs were playing without their big man Kristaps Porzingis (injury recovery rest). However, Dallas was a completely different team the remaining 3 quarters outscoring Memphis 107-88.
“Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Tim Hardaway Jr.” is probably what THJ should be saying after last night’s performance. He put in 20 points (7-14 shooting) in 22 minutes. His consistency is key for the Mavs having a top bench in the league. They will need that scoring outside of their top 2 players, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. This is the version of Hardaway Jr. that I expected to get coming into this season. But to stay in the MFFLs good graces he has to improve his decision making and shot selection on a nightly basis, not once every few games.
The bench played phenomenal, scoring 67 points collectively. That’s even including Porzingis being out, stretching the Mavs bench thinner than usual. I look at this team and see only two guaranteed starters and the rest of the team has to be consistent either in the starting lineup or off the bench. We need that type of effort and level of play to be a good playoff team in the West, the expectations are back for the Dallas Mavericks.
Justin Jackson had a huge day in racking up 17 points (6-10 shooting) and 4 rebounds. Seth Curry made 3 three-pointers which contributed to his 16 points, would love to see him average around 3 made threes a game. Brunson put up 13 points (6-8 shooting), 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Grizzlies are a competitive team, even with their 2019 2nd overall draft pick Ja Morant out. Their record doesn’t truly reflect the edginess and hustle that they bring to the court. Jaren Jackson Jr. is a very talented young big in this league who put up 23 points (10-17 shooting) in this game. I really like Tyus Jones who scored 14 points (6-8 shooting) and 8 assists. Jae Crowder, who still has a soft spot in my MFFL heart, put in 18 points (6-12 shooting), 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. In the end, the Mavs talent was just to much for the Grizzlies, as they improved to 4-0 on the road this season.
The Mavericks have a challenge on their hands upcoming as they take on the #1 record in the Eastern Conference Monday, the Boston Celtics. Gordon Hayward broke his hand Saturday in a game against the San Antonio Spurs. I was very disappointed to see that injury take place, Hayward was playing phenomenal, performing like he did in his Utah Jazz days. The Celtics still have a talented team led by Kemba Walker, who always seems to have big games against the Dallas Mavericks. The young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will also present a difficult test Monday night as the Mavs look to continue the road winning streak. Then you have Marcus Smart who will undoubtedly do everything he can to try to frustrate and disrupt Luka Doncic.
The Dallas Mavericks (6-3) travel to their second city on this 3 game road-trip Boston Celtics (7-1) Sunday at 6:30pm CT.