Dallas Mavericks 116, Golden State Warriors 113
Stat Leaders: Points: 41, Dončić; Assists: 12, Dončić; Rebounds: 12, Dončić
Surprising Stat: Luka Dončić has three 40-point triple-doubles this season; the rest of the league has zero.
Dallas Mavericks 125, Detroit Pistons 131
Stat Leaders: Points: 35, Dončić; Assists: 10, Dončić; Rebounds: 8, Wood
Surprising Stat: The Mavericks shot 48.3% from the free-throw line, the fourth-worst free-throw percentage by a team this season.
Dallas Mavericks 121, New York Knicks 100
Stat Leaders: Points: 30, Dončić; Assists: 9, Dinwiddie; Rebounds: 9, Dinwiddie
Surprising Stat: The Mavericks attempted 61 three-pointers – a franchise record.
MVP of the Week: Tim Hardaway Jr.
In the first weekly review, I mentioned the polarity between good Tim Hardaway Jr. and bad Tim Hardaway Jr.
This week, it was all good.
Hardaway Jr. is arguably the most hot-and-cold player in the league. Last week, Hardaway Jr. scored 12 points, shot 5-of-20 from the floor (a paltry 25%), and 2-of-14 from three-point range (an even worse 14%).
This week, however, was the exact opposite. Hardaway Jr. played his best stretch of the season, averaging 25.3 points on 51% shooting from the floor and 50% shooting from three-point range. His scoring was pivotal in the close win over the Warriors, and his third quarter against the Knicks put the game out of reach.
This was the resurgence that Hardaway Jr. needed. His insertion into the starting lineup was out of necessity as Reggie Bullock has been shooting very poorly. Dončić needs shooters who can reliably make open looks.
“When Luka does the hard part, we gotta do our job and make it easier for him,” Hardaway Jr. said after beating the Knicks. “Today, we could say that we did our part.”
If the Mavericks want to turn this season around, Hardaway Jr. will have to do one thing he’s struggled to do throughout his entire career – play consistently.
Surprise of the Week: Poor Team Defense
Early issues with this team focused on relying on a heliocentric offense around Dončić. Now, two straight weeks of poor defense should have Mavericks fans concerned.
The Mavericks’ last six opponents have all scored at least 100 points, with four of those opponents scoring over 115. Two weeks ago, the Mavericks had the fourth-highest defensive rating in the league. They have since fallen to eighth.
This upcoming week is a tough four-game stretch against some of the league’s best teams. Hopefully, the defense will start to course-correct.
Stock Up: Jaden Hardy
Congratulations to Jaden Hardy on scoring his first NBA points.
Thanks to the Mavericks’ demolition of the Knicks, Hardy finally got to see some NBA playing time. He scored five points in his minutes, making a contested layup and a three-pointer.
Hardy has been leading the G-League in scoring by averaging 29 points per game. He’s shooting 54.8% from the floor, 48.2% from three-point range, and 87.1% from the free-throw line. He’s been great for the Texas Legends and has earned more NBA playing time.
“He is taking the game plan that we’ve given him and he is doing a great job with it so far,” coach Jason Kidd said about Hardy. “He is checking the boxes and he’ll get an opportunity.”
Hardy can develop into another useful ball handler for the Mavericks. For a team that desperately needs ball handlers, Hardy’s development is encouraging.
Stock Down: Dorian Finney-Smith
Dorian Finney-Smith is one of the most critical members of this team and one of the best “three-and-d” guys in the league – but he’s regressed from his stellar season last year.
Finney-Smith has still been playing at a high-defensive level, often being tasked with guarding the opponent’s best defender. He has the length to cover guards and strong enough to provide interior defensive help.
His three-point shot, however, has abandoned him.
This week, he averaged just six points per game on 26.3% shooting from the floor and 26.7% from three-point range. He’s caught whatever shooting virus infected Reggie Bullock, as he has been missing the wide-open looks that he is accustomed to making.
On just 32.8% three-point shooting for the season, the team needs DFS to contribute more offensively. He balled out in his contract year, and the team needs him to maintain that elevated level of play.
Dec. 5 vs Phoenix Suns
Dec. 6 @ Denver Nuggets
Dec. 9 vs Milwaukee Bucks
Dec. 10 @ Chicago Bulls