Dallas Mavericks 130, Phoenix Suns 111
Stat Leaders: Points: 33, Dončić; Assists: 8, Dončić; Rebounds: 9, Wood
Surprising Stat: With this win, the Mavericks snapped a 10-game regular season losing streak against the Suns.
Dallas Mavericks 116, Denver Nuggets 115
Stat Leaders: Points: 29, Hardaway; Assists: 12, Dončić; Rebounds: 10, Dončić
Surprising Stat: This was the first win of the season where Luka Dončić scored less than 30 points.
Dallas Mavericks 105, Milwaukee Bucks 106
Stat Leaders: Points: 33, Dončić; Assists: 11, Dončić; Rebounds: 9, Wood
Surprising Stat: The Mavericks shot 41.7% from the free-throw line, the worst mark in franchise history and the fourth-worst mark of any team this season.
Dallas Mavericks 115, Chicago Bulls 144
Stat Leaders: Points: 27, Dinwiddie; Assists: 9, Dinwiddie; Rebounds: 9, Wood
Surprising Stat: This was the fourth-most points allowed by the Mavericks in franchise history.
MVP of the Week: Luka Dončić
Dončić had another fantastic week. He torched the Phoenix Suns and got revenge for the season-opening loss. Despite playing arguably his worst game of the season, he tallied his 52nd career triple-double against the Denver Nuggets. He then outplayed two-time MVP Giannis Antentokounpo and threw down a monster dunk all over Jrue Holiday.
Dončić still leads the league in scoring on career-high offensive efficiency and is top-five in assists and steals. Furthermore, his three-point shot seems to be returning as he shot a much improved 37.9% from three-point range this week. Dončić, at this point, should be the runaway MVP favorite.
Unfortunately, the coaching staff and the front office are in the way.
Surprise of the Week: Jaden Hardy
Hardy got the “Stock Up” nod last week for scoring his first basket, and he followed that up with a better week.
Hardy showcased the immense potential we saw materialize in the G-League, scoring 10 points in just two minutes against Phoenix. He then scored a career-high 15 points in a career-high 23 minutes against the Bulls.
He’s clearly a class above G-League-level talent. With few other playmakers on the team, Hardy deserves more opportunities.
Stock Up: Josh Green
Just over a quarter of the way through the season, one new fact has been established about this Mavericks’ team: Josh Green is a quality rotational player.
Just last season, Green was a non-factor during the regular season and was entirely unplayable during the playoffs.
Now, fans are calling for Green to start.
Green had his best game of the week in the blowout win over Phoenix, scoring 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and was a team-high +26 in a career-high 31 minutes. Green was particularly impressive as most of his points came from aggressive drives to the basket – he only made one three-pointer.
Green is not a ballhandler, but he most certainly is a playmaker as his crafty passes add a level of offensive unpredictability that this team desperately needs. He is becoming a fantastic defender, utilizing his quick hands to strip defenders of the ball and his unlimited motor to get himself into position when he finds himself behind the play. Tack on his 44.4% three-point shooting and his knack for grabbing offensive rebounds and you have the makings of a legitimate role player.
Oh, and don’t forget this nasty slam over Brook Lopez. Green’s calling card is his athleticism, and this highlight encapsulates that.
Green has been one of the few bright spots on a very disappointing team. Let’s hope we get more of him this season.
Stock Down: Preparation
If one word could describe the Mavericks through the first quarter of the season, it would be unprepared.
This includes the players (Dončić excluded), who seem unprepared for big moments. The game against the Bucks was the perfect encapsulation of this, with the Mavericks missing eight free throws in the fourth quarter to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory. If Tim Hardaway Jr. was prepared, he wouldn’t have missed three consecutive free throws after Antetokounmpo fouled out. If Finney-Smith was prepared, he wouldn’t have missed both of his free throws with just ten seconds left and wouldn’t have had a mental gaffe on the game-clinching basket by Bucks’ center Brook Lopez.
This includes the coaching staff, who have become uninspired offensively and pedestrian defensively. If Jason Kidd was prepared, he wouldn’t have drawn up a 35-foot desperation Dončić three-pointer down by one for the millionth time this season (it was so obvious that even the Bucks knew it was coming). If this coaching staff was prepared, they would be able to keep this team competitive without Dončić against a below-.500 Chicago Bulls team.
This includes the front office, who were completely unprepared for life without Jalen Brunson. If this front office were prepared, we wouldn’t have been told Frank Ntlikina or Josh Green could fill his role. If this front office were prepared, they wouldn’t have brought in Facundo Campazzo. If this front office were prepared, they wouldn’t have cut him and replaced him with Kemba Walker.
If this front office were prepared, they wouldn’t be trying to put a band-aid over a bullet wound.
This team slipped from shooting 77.1% from the free throw line last season– 15th in the league – to 71.8% this season, second-worst in the league. This team routinely blows big leads and commits self-inflicted wounds. This team went from one of the best offenses ever just three seasons ago to a one-dimensional, unimaginative offense.
This is indicative of a lack of preparation.
This franchise was flying high after its first Western Conference Finals appearance in a decade. Then, like Icarus, they found themselves unprepared for the sun.
Now, let’s hope they don’t crash and burn.
Dec. 12 vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Dec. 14 vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Dec. 16 vs Portland Trail Blazers
Dec. 17 @ Cleveland Cavaliers