Image Credit: @Raptors Twitter
On Monday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Toronto Raptors not in Toronto but in Tampa Bay, Florida due to COVID-19 concerns as the NBA honors Dr. Martin Luther King today. The Mavericks are looking to snap their two game losing streak as they prepare their three game road trip that concludes on Friday.
On Sunday, the Mavericks played the Chicago Bulls at the American Airlines Center in hopes of starting a new winning streak. That would not be case as the Bulls came out storming as they seek the series sweep over the Mavericks and end their four game losing streak. The Mavericks came into this game depleted as they were without six key rotation players which means that Luka Doncic would need to carry this team to victory. He indeed did just that by posting 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists but that would not be enough as the Bulls had big performances from Lauri Markkanen and Garrett Temple by combing for 50 points to roll past the Mavericks 117-101. Luka Doncic’s triple-double was his 29th of his career, passing Michael Jordan on the career triple-double list. The loss would result in the Mavericks record dropping to 6-6 on the season and are facing a two game losing streak.
The Toronto Raptors (or “Tampa Raptors”) are coming into this game on a roll as they have won two consecutive games by sweeping the Charlotte Hornets to improve their record to 4-8 on the season. Despite their record, this team is very capable of competing in the eastern conference as they won the NBA championship in 2019. Coming into this season, the Raptors had a massive overhaul in the offseason by losing key players such as Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol to free agency after being eliminated in the semifinals in seven games. After losing key players, the Raptors still plan to remain competitive in the eastern conference and are hoping to find themselves fighting for a playoff spot at season’s end.
Entering this game, the Mavericks split their regular season series 1-1 over the Raptors last season with the Raptors claiming the recent victory. The Raptors have won eight of the previous 10 meetings which includes overcoming a 30-point deficit to beat the Mavericks 110-107 that tied the largest blown lead in franchise history. This is the only meeting scheduled in the first half of the season. Overall, the Mavericks lead the all-time series lead with a record of 26-21.
The Mavericks started this game by getting Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr back into the starting lineup which helps Luka Doncic tremendously. Both teams would get off to a slow start until Kristaps Porzingis decided to follow up a Jalen Brunson miss to get the Mavericks on the board first. The teams would then start to exchange baskets as they settle in the game but the Mavericks would find themselves on top 7-6 with 8:21 left in the first quarter. Rick Carlisle decided to use a coaches challenge on a Kristaps Porzingis offensive foul driving to the paint and would be successful as the officials overturned the call and gave Porzingis free-throws. He would only make 1 of 2 free-throws as he would score 6 of the Mavericks 8 points up to this point. After a stop on defense, the Mavericks kept feeding the hot hand as they fed Kristaps Porzingis again deep in the paint which resulted in retaking the lead with the score 10-9. Both teams would share time with the lead as they continued to seesaw back-and-forth in a low scoring quarter. In the final minutes of the first quarter, Rick Carlisle would pick up two quick technical fouls to earn an ejection for arguing with the officials with 58 seconds left. The first quarter would end with the Raptors taking a 22-18 lead. For the reminder of the game, Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley would be the one in charge of making the decisions. The Mavericks struggled getting things going on offense as they would make only 5 shots on 18 attempts (27.8%) and only make one three pointer as they couldn’t reach 20 points in the quarter.
The Raptors quickly saw their lead evaporate in the second quarter as the Mavericks went on the attack with Jalen Brunson hitting a three pointer from the corner. The Raptors said “not so fast” as they would go on a 4-0 run as they attacked the paint to take a 33-28 lead with 7:35 left in the second quarter. To this point, the Mavericks had one player in double digits with Kristaps Porzingis scoring 11 points. The sloppy start would continue for the Mavericks as the “turnover bug” hit the Mavericks which would result in the Raptors taking advantage of it by turning it into points. The Mavericks three point shoot was extinct as they couldn’t get it to go in. The Raptors kept attacking the Mavericks interior defense as the paint was open to take a 7 point lead midway through the second quarter. James Johnson finally hit the Mavericks first three pointer in the quarter to end the three point drought as they will need to drain some in order to come out of this with a victory. The Mavericks quickly got things going by going on a 8-0 run which would give them the 44-43 lead as Jalen Brunson hit a 26-foot three pointer with 2:20 to go in the quarter. Unfortunately the Mavericks wouldn’t share much time with the lead as Kyle Lowry hit a corner three pointer to take a one point lead that would also end the Mavericks run. In the final minutes of the quarter, both teams would find themselves tied after Luka Doncic completed a three point play and Kyle Lowry scoring a layup to end the quarter tied at 47-47. The Mavericks were able to overcome their low scoring first quarter by dropping 29 points as they finally were able to get their offense going. Kristaps Porzingis had himself a good first half as he would lead the Mavericks with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting in his first back-to-back. Kyle Lowry and Chris Boucher would each provide the Raptors 11 points as they were able to attack the paint. The Mavericks interior defense would need to improve in the second half as they were allowing the Raptors to drive to the paint for 34 points and score with no effort. The Raptors had to chance to capitalize and increase their lead in the second quarter but were unable to do so as the Mavericks were able to go on a run to tie the game. The Mavericks would need Luka Doncic to active his “Magic” in the second half as that would be a good time to help the Mavericks come out with a victory as he had 9 points in the first half. The Mavericks bench would need to produce more as they were out scored 26-14. This is an extremely important game for the Mavericks as they want to avoid their first three game losing of the season.
Coming out of the half, the Mavericks would be much more aggressive by drawing three fouls on the Raptors in less than a minute. However, back-to-back threes by the Raptors would result in them taking the lead in the early stages of the third quarter. The Mavericks would answer by following a Kristaps Porzingis block with Jalen Brunson draining a three pointer to take the lead right back. After starting the game 1 of 10 from three, the Mavericks would bounce back by draining 5 of their next 10 shots from deep. Assistant coach Jamahl Moseley would call a full timeout for the Mavericks as the Raptors were starting to go on a run as they would take a one point lead with 7:25 left in the quarter. After exchanging baskets, the Raptors decide to breakaway by going on a 16-2 run. This game was starting to get out of hand for the Mavericks as their offense would remain silent but Trey Burke came up huge by draining a three pointer as they desperately needed that. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks offense continue to struggle as they simply couldn’t buy a basket as that was the perfect recipe for the Raptors to try to put this game away. The Mavericks would end the quarter horrendously by allowing the Raptors to get any looks that they wanted. The Mavericks started this quarter by getting the Raptors in foul trouble by drawing three fouls but the Mavericks couldn’t get in the bonus by shying away from it. The Raptors did what the Mavericks couldn’t as they were able to be aggressive and stay aggressive which would result in them being in the bonus and getting to the free-throw line. After three quarters of play, the Raptors found themselves leading the Mavericks 81-72 as they were able to use a huge run to limit the Mavericks from coming back. The Mavericks once again found themselves on the wrong end as the would need to find away to come out with a victory otherwise they will have a three game losing streak waiting for them
The Mavericks started this fourth quarter strong by coming within 7 points in the early stages of the quarter. However a costly mistake for the Mavericks as James Johnson would foul Norman Powell shooting a three allowing him to increase the lead back to 10 points on making his free-throws. The misses continue to pile on the Mavericks offense as they looked broken. Tim Hardaway Jr doesn’t look right in the game as he would remain scoreless on 11 attempts. The Raptors kept piling it on the Mavericks by increasing their lead to 93-77 with 8:33 left in the game. The Mavericks did something right as the were able to find themselves in the bonus for the reminder of the game in hopes of using that to their advantage. The Mavericks desperately would need to create a couple of stops on defense if they want any hope in this game. That wouldn’t happen as they would force Stanley Johnson to the free-throw line where he would make 1 of 2 at the line for the Raptors. The Mavericks found themselves trailing 96-82 with 7:10 left in the game and if they want any hope then they must go on a run and try to force stops on defense. With time on their side, the Raptors were able to drain some time and on top of that were able to score as that’s not a good combination for the Mavericks. The Raptors were able to increase their lead to 20 points by Fred VanVleet draining a 30-foot three pointer with 5:27 to go as they start to put this game away
This team looked outplayed as the Raptors took the lead and they never looked back as the Mavericks couldn’t get things going on offense. At one point, the Raptors were able to use a 16-2 run to their advantage as that’s not way to win this game for the Mavericks. The Raptors effort overmatched the Mavericks effort as they were being aggressive throughout the game. The Mavericks offense fell apart in the second half as they couldn’t climb back and chase down the Raptors. Rick Carlisle’s ejection didn’t spark the Mavericks as they saw Kyle Lowry destroy the Mavericks. The Raptors didn’t take their foot off the gas as they were continuing to get points as it looked like the Mavericks gave up in the final six minutes of the game. This was an extremely horrendous night for the Mavericks on all cylinders as this is not the way to bounce back from back-to-back losses.
In the end, it was the Toronto Raptors claiming victory by defeating the Dallas Mavericks 116-93. The Mavericks record would drop to 6-7 on the season as they now have their first three game losing streak since March of 2019. The Mavericks fell apart as the Raptors were too much for the Mavericks. Despite Kristaps Porzingis giving the Mavericks 23 points, it would be far too little as the rest of team couldn’t pick up the slack. Tim Hardaway Jr would drop a goose egg (0 points) as he struggled massively coming back from a groin injury. Kyle Lowry had a big game as he delivered 23 points for the Raptors as well as Chris Boucher coming off the bench for 21 points. The Raptors were able to extend their winning streak to three games with this win.
The Mavericks will continue their road trip by heading north to Indiana to face the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The Mavericks now find themselves in search of a win to try to get back to .500 on the season and also end their three game losing streak. It won’t come easy as this would be a tough Indiana Pacers team to face the Mavericks.