Image Credit: @MavsPr Twitter
On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Atlanta Hawks in the much anticipated matchup between Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Forever linked by the blockbuster draft day trade, Luka Doncic and Trae Young write the next chapter of their story in their careers. The Mavericks are still looking for a win to snap their long devastating losing streak as they continue to fall behind in the western conference.
On Monday, the Mavericks played the Phoenix Suns in their final game of their two-game series. The Mavericks were coming into this game on a five game losing streak hoping that ends with this matchup. The Mavericks got some much needed help as Maxi Kleber would return after missing the last 11 games due to “health and safety protocols” which gave them a full roster without any injury designation for the first time since Dec. 4, 2019. The Mavericks were leading by 11 with 4:48 to play in the third quarter before the Suns came storming back. The Mavericks saw their win chances disappear as Devin Booker would hit a game winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left that gave the Suns a 109-108 victory. The problem of “protecting leads” remains to be an issue for the Mavericks as they continue to struggle closing out games this season which costed them many wins. Luka Doncic finished with 25 points after a slow start in which he scored only two points in the first quarter. Josh Richardson scored a season-high 24 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 14 points after sitting out the previous game. The leading scorer would belong to Chris Paul as he tortured the Mavericks with a season-high 34 points to go with nine rebounds and nine assists to sweep the two-game series from the Mavericks. With the loss, the Mavericks record dropped to 8-13 as their losing streak was extended to six games.
The Atlanta Hawks are coming into this game by going 5-5 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 107-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday to drop their record to 10-10 on the season. The Hawks currently stand at sixth in the eastern conference with only 2.5 games separating the two-seeded Brooklyn Nets. Their leading scorer is Trae Young with 26.9 points per game which is good enough for eighth in the NBA, trailing Luka Doncic by 0.4 points for seventh. This is a team that likes to grab a whole lot of rebounds as they are averaging 47.3 rebounds per game which is the third most in the NBA. Their success has been mainly on limiting opponents making threes as opponents are only shooting 32.1% against the Hawks this season which is second-best in the NBA. Coming into this season, the Hawks made a key number of moves in free agency which resulted in Bogdan Bogdanovic and Rajon Rondo going to Atlanta. The Hawks are looking to make the playoffs for the first time under Trae Young as they finished 20-47 last season which resulted in selecting Onyeka Okongwu with the eighth overall pick in the draft. The Hawks want to give Trae Young his first taste of the playoffs and they are well positioned to do that this season.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks split their regular season series last season going 1-1, with the Hawks claiming the most recent victory on February 22nd, 2019 as they beat the Mavericks 111-107. Since being traded for one another during the 2018 draft, both Luka Doncic and Trae Young hold the same record against each other at 2-2. The Hawks have taken 11 of the last 13 meetings against the Mavericks. Overall, the Hawks lead the all-time series lead by holding a record of 44-34 against the Mavericks. These teams will play one more time during the first half of the season on February 10th.
The Mavericks started this game with no changes in the starting five that features Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith in the lineup. The first points of the game would belong to Kristaps Porzingis as he hit a 17-foot jump shot for the Mavericks, to get this game going. It didn’t take Trae Young to contribute in this game as he found John Collins for an easy alley-oop to tie the game at 4-4 in the early going of the first quarter. After forcing a turnover, Luka Doncic found Dorian Finney-Smith for a wide open 23-foot three pointer to take a 9-4 lead. Cam Reddish would lose the ball for the Hawks which led Luka Doncic to make an incredible behind-the-back pass to Josh Richardson for an easy layup to increase their lead to 11-4. As a result of the Mavericks good start, the Hawks would be forced to take a timeout with 9:01 left in the quarter. Coming off the timeout, the Hawks couldn’t convert on offense as Cam Reddish missed the shot to cool off the Mavericks. With the Mavericks on a 9-0 run, the Hawks turned to Kevin Huerter to end the Mavericks run which saw the score 13-7 in favor of the Mavericks. Following Trae Young stealing the ball from Luka Doncic, the Hawks were able to convert by finding a wide open Kevin Huerter for a three point shot to trim the lead to 13-10. With the Mavericks cooling off a little bit, Rick Carlisle decided to call timeout with 3:36 left in the quarter as they get a quick breather. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Jalen Brunson but couldn’t convert on a floating jump shot which resulted in the Hawks tying the game at 15-15 in the following possession as a result of Danilo Gallinari hitting a 26-foot three pointer. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to take a 26-22 lead into the second quarter. The Mavericks were able to create 11 points off of turnovers in the quarter. The leading scorer in the game would belong to Danilo Gallinari as he scored 10 points off the bench. The Mavericks once again find themselves with the lead as that hasn’t worked well during this tough stretch. Luka Doncic would lead the Mavericks in scoring as he scored 8 points on two of seven shooting from the field.
The Hawks were able to start this second quarter by finding Clint Capela for a thunderous alley-oop to trim the lead to 26-24. The Mavericks couldn’t rebound a Kevin Huerter miss which allowed Clint Capela to grab the rebound and slam it home to once again trim the lead down to two points. A good defense-to-offense would occur for the Mavericks as Josh Richardson blocked Trae Young’s three point attempt which resulted in Richardson hitting a three pointer on the other end to extend their lead to 31-26. The Hawks would tie this game once again as Tony Snell would hit a 22-foot three pointer to tie the game at 31-31 in the early stages of the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 7:53 left in the quarter as he saw the Hawks making a little run which resulted in them taking a 35-33 lead. Coming out of the timeout , the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis as would hit a jump shot to tie the game. Both teams would seesaw their time leading and tying game midway through the quarter, until the Hawks took it as they went on a quick 8-2 run. The game found its way to be tied again as the Mavericks were able to comeback to tie it at 45-45 as a result of Luka Doncic hitting a tough shot for two points. The Hawks would call a timeout with 2:56 left in the quarter with a chance to regroup on offense as they were coming up empty on multiple possessions. Coming out of the timeout, the Hawks turned to Trae Young as he would convert by hitting a floating jump shot to retake the lead. A quick 5-0 run by the Hawks would happen but it would be quickly snapped by Tim Hardaway Jr hitting a corner three point shot to trim the deficit to 50-48. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Hawks would take a 56-53 lead at halftime as Luka Doncic hit a three pointer at the buzzer. The Mavericks were able to play good defense as they were able to create seven steals and block three shots but it wasn’t enough to protect the lead. The leading scorer in the game would belong to Luka Doncic as he had 17 points on five of 12 shooting from the field. The Hawks were led by Kevin Huerter as he put 13 points on five of nine shooting. The Hawks were able to create good opportunities which led them to shoot 50% at halftime on 22 of 44 shooting. The Mavericks were once again relying on Luka Doncic as he was the only player in double digits while the Hawks had three players. Trae Young struggled in the first half as he only had six points but his teammates were there to back him up, something the Mavericks couldn’t do with Luka Doncic. The Mavericks were severely being out rebounded by the Hawks 18-29 as that has been a critical part in this game.
Coming out of the half, the Hawks would find John Collins for a 25-foot three point shot to extend their lead to 59-53 to begin the third quarter. The first points for the Mavericks came from Kristaps Porzingis hitting a 14-foot jump shot to trim the deficit to four points in the early stages of the quarter. Luka Doncic would find “the unicorn” (yes they’re real in Dallas) Kristaps Porzingis as part of a much needed 6-0 run to tie the game at 59-59. The Hawks were forced to call a timeout with 9:02 left in the quarter as they wanted to regroup after coming empty on back-to-back possessions. Coming out of the timeout, the Hawks couldn’t convert as the Mavericks forced the turnover but couldn’t get points out of it. Both teams would share their time exchanging buckets but not before Luka Doncic found Maxi Kleber for a wide open three point shot to take a 64-61 lead. Trae Young would be called for a technical foul as he was arguing with the officials as he was struggling all game. Kristaps Porzingis would take the technical free-throw and make it to extend the lead to 65-61 while also being on a 13-2 run. John Collins would end the Mavericks 13-2 run by making a three point shot for the Hawks to cut the deficit to 66-64. Maxi Kleber would find his range in this quarter as he was able to hit back-to-back threes to extend the Mavericks lead to 69-67 with 5:20 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would find themselves in foul trouble as they rewarded the Hawks to be in the bonus for the reminder of 5:02 left in the quarter as they put Danilo Gallinari to the free-throw line, where he would convert. The Mavericks lead was short-lived as the Hawks quickly went on a run to take a 72-71 lead which forced Rick Carlisle to take a timeout with 4:35 left in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks found Kristaps Porzingis for a free-throw opportunity as he would head to the the free-throw line as he was fouled. He would convert on both of his free-throws to give the Mavericks a 73-72 lead. The foul troubles would hunt the Mavericks as they fouled Danilo Gallinari to send him to the free-throw line as a result of the Hawks being in the bonus where he would convert on both of his free-throws to take a 74-73 lead. The game was tied again as a result of Tim Hardaway Jr and John Collins making shots for their teams to tie the game at 76-76. The Hawks were rewarded with the lead again as a result of John Collins making a 10-foot pull-up jump shot to take a 78-76 lead. The Hawks called a timeout with 2:28 left in the quarter as part of a “coach’s challenge” as they wanted to review a foul that would send Kristaps Porzingis to the free-throw line. After the review, the officials would rule in favor of the Hawks as they won the challenge to prevent Kristaps Porzingis from going to the free-throw line but it would remain the Mavericks’ ball. Tim Hardaway Jr would make the Hawks pay on the challenge as he hit a 26-foot three point jump shot to give the Mavericks a 79-78 lead. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to take a 88-83 lead thanks to Tim Hardaway Jr getting hot from behind the arc. Here we go again, as the Mavericks found themselves to be in the same position from last game by holding a lead at the end of the third quarter. The Mavericks were once again 12:00 away from snapping this devastating losing streak. The leading scorer in the game would belong to Luka Doncic by scoring 23 points on seven of 17 shooting. The Hawks were led by John Collins as he scored 22 points on 10 of 15 shooting. This game featured 16 ties and 10 lead changes.
The Mavericks started this fourth quarter by going on a 5-2 run by converting on three of their first four possessions to begin the quarter to take a 95-87 lead. The Mavericks would call a timeout with 9:31 left in the game as a result of the Hawks threatening to comeback in the game. The Hawks started this fourth quarter cold as the only made one shot in four attempts. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Jalen Brunson as he would make a driving layup to extend their lead to 97-87. A technical foul would be called on Kristaps Porzingis and that would send Trae Young to the free-throw line, where he would convert to cut the deficit to 97-88. The Mavericks would hit the 100-point mark by having Kristaps Porzingis hit a 15-foot “bank” shot to give the Mavericks 101 points. The Hawks would call a timeout with 6:58 left in the game as they would trail 103-91. Coming out of the timeout, the Hawks turned to Clint Capela but he couldn’t convert. With 5:00 left in the game, the Mavericks could see the light at the end of the tunnel but it would cost them to play good defense for the reminder of the game. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 4:17 left in the game that saw the score 108-96 in favor of the Mavericks as Carlisle wanted to remind them to play good defense and take good shots. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks were able to force the Hawks to come empty on the possession which they were rewarded with Dorian Finney-Smith hitting a 26-foot three point shot to extend their lead to 111-96. The Hawks were simply not going to go away easy as they were able to make it a 10 point game with John Collins making a alley-oop to cut the deficit to 111-101. Rick Carlisle would call timeout for the Mavericks to give them a breather. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Tim Hardaway Jr but he couldn’t convert on a 23-foot three point shot that kept the score at 111-101. The Hawks were threatening as they made it a six point game with 1:15 left in the game but the Mavericks remain in control of this game. With 42.3 seconds left in the game, Trae Young would hit a big three point shot to make it 115-112 as the Mavericks problems with “closing out games” were hitting them in the face. Rick Carlisle would call timeout and after the timeout, they would turn to Luka Doncic but he couldn’t convert, luckily Kristaps Porzingis was there for the put-back following Doncic miss to make it 117-112 with 31.9 seconds left in the game. It was now the Hawks turn to take a timeout as they were searching for a quick basket. Coming out of the timeout, the Hawks turned to Trae Young as he was able to drive to the basket for a easy layup to cut it within three points with 23.7 seconds left in the game. The Hawks were forced to play “the foul game” to preserve some time that would send Josh Richardson to the free-throw line where he would convert on both of them to make it 119-114 with 19.3 seconds left in game. Trae Young quickly made a driving layup as the Mavericks let the Hawks to get a quick basket with 15.9 seconds left to make it 119-116 in favor of the Mavericks.
This team played with tremendous amount of heart and effort as the Mavericks were able to play good basketball all around. The Mavericks were able to make good plays and execute on offense. It was a back-and-forth game throughout this one and it would once again come down to the final seconds of the game.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Atlanta Hawks 122-116 and HALLELUJAH THE LOSING STREAK IS OVER!. The Mavericks finally saw their record improve to 9-13 on the season. Luka Doncic finished the game with 27 points and 14 assists. The Hawks were led by John Collins as he finished the game with 35 points and 12 rebounds. The Mavericks shot the ball really well in this game as they shot 45.7% on 43 of 94 shooting from the field. The 3-point shooting was good for the Mavericks as they made 13 out of 40 attempts. Both Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr played well as they were able to combine for 46 points in this game. The Mavericks are 3-0 on the season when they have three players score 20+ points in a game. This has to feel good for the Mavericks as they finally were able to snap their six game losing streak and they would do it by fighting throughout the game. The monkey is officially off the Mavericks’ back as they can finally celebrate a win. Make sure you vote to send these Mavericks to the NBA All-Star game by going to https://vote.nba.com/en?cid=nba:allstar21:institutional:nbacom:homehero:vote:global
The Mavericks will now head back to Dallas where they will stay for awhile as they will play at the American Airlines Center for the next seven games, beginning with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.