Monday night the New Orleans Pelicans, who were 1-9 and 15th in the West, and the Dallas Mavericks, who were 6-3 and 3rd in the West, faced off in the American Airlines Center. The Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, and Zion Willamson, while the Mavericks were only missing Maxi Kleber due to injury.
Following tipoff the Mavericks were the first ones to score, off a Luka Doncic layup. The game in the first quarter, especially, had a very slow start and the Pelicans took an early lead. When Jalen Brunson and Reggie Bullock came into the game off the bench for Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. the team got some much needed energy. Bullock’s ability to score ended ten consecutive points scored by the Pelicans. Around the 4:44 mark Mavs fans held their breath as Willie Cauley-Stein rolled on Doncic’s ankle. Luckily he is okay, and his play throughout the rest of the game did not seem to be affected. The quarter closed out with a Porzingis three pointer putting the Mavs within 5, making the score 27-22.
The second quarter opened up with a three pointer as well from Frank Ntilikina to put the Mavs down by 2. Off a Brunson assisted Hardaway Jr. three pointer the Mavs took the lead making the score, 29-31. Following this Porzingis picked up his third foul which meant he had to be subbed out to avoid picking up another one too quickly. Unfortunately not long after Dwight Powell picked up his second foul when he was utilizing the baseline as a secondary defender against Devonte’ Graham which ultimately forced him out of bounds but a foul was called. Doncic made a three pointer with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The score at halftime was 47-51, Mavs.
In the third quarter the Mavs were in control the entire time except for the score being tied at 54 at the 9:50 mark. Going into the fourth quarter the score was 69-78, Mavs. The fourth quarter we got to see Boban Marjanovic play and a large variety of lineup combinations. At one point we got to see Marjanovic, Porzingis, Doncic, Hardaway Jr., and Sterling Brown in together. It was a lot of fun to see the ball movement and team chemistry throughout the fourth quarter. The Mavs won this one with a final score of 108-92.
The point spread for the Mavs was very evenly distributed between a variety of players which is great to see that a lot of players are getting involved and hitting shots. Doncic had 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists making this his 131st game to have 20+ points, 5+ rebounds, and 5+ assists. In Maverick history he just passed Dirk Nowitzki who had 130 games with this stat line. This is pretty impressive considering Nowitzki was a Mav for 21 seasons and Doncic is currently in his fourth season with the organization.
The Dallas Mavericks next game is Wednesday on the road against the Chicago Bulls.