Dallas Mavericks 126, Washington Wizards 127
Stat Leaders: Points: 41, Dončić; Assists: 8, Dinwiddie; Rebounds: 15, Dončić
Surprising Stat: This was the Wizards’ third-highest scoring output this season.
Dallas Mavericks 99, Phoenix Suns 95
Stat Leaders: Points: 36, Dinwiddie; Assists: 9, Dinwiddie; Rebounds: 12, Finney-Smith
Surprising Stat: Spencer Dinwiddie’s 36 points were a season-high.
Dallas Mavericks 100, Utah Jazz 108
Stat Leaders: Points: 35, Dinwiddie; Assists: 8, Dinwiddie; Rebounds: 9, Finney-Smith
Surprising Stat: Dallas falls to 0-6 without Luka Dončić.
MVP of the Week: Spencer Dinwiddie
While doubts about his fit as a secondary playmaker and distributor are certainly merited, Dinwiddie continues to prove why he deserves a bigger role in this offense – even when Dončić returns.
Dinwiddie has been on a hot streak since the turn of January, and this week only fanned the flames. He averaged 30.3 points and 8.3 assists on 48.2% shooting from the field and an absurd 58.3% shooting from three-point range.
Since arriving in Dallas, Dinwiddie has seen a tremendous uptick in his three-point shooting percentage, often thought to be a result of playing next to Dončić. This, while it might be true, downplays the progress Dinwiddie has made as a shooter. Pick any of the three games from this week and you will find an incredible three-point make, whether it is a Dončić-esque step-back out of a double-team or his patented dribble pull-up.
Dinwiddie also played with an aggressiveness that fans have been waiting to see. Despite being such a prolific driver, Dinwiddie is averaging only 3.7 free throw attempts per game. This week, however, he averaged 9.7 free throw attempts.
Dinwiddie thrived this week as the primary option. It is now on the coaching staff to get him more opportunities to showcase his offensive brilliance when Dončić returns.
“It was just a shift in mindset,” Dinwiddie said after the win against Phoenix. “I’ve got to be aggressive in a more consistent fashion.”
Surprise of the Week: Almost Luka-less win against Phoenix
Much like last week, this was a great win sandwiched in between two disappointing defeats.
The entire city of Dallas fell silent when Dončić sprained his ankle just three minutes into the match (luckily, he is listed as day-to-day).
Dallas, instead of crumbling under the pressure, rose to the challenge.
Despite ceding an 11-2 run after the injury, Dallas rallied back into this game with a staunch defensive performance and an offensive explosion by Dinwiddie.
Dallas held Phoenix to just a 110.1 offensive rating and limited them to just 40.6% shooting. Despite being undersized, the Mavericks dominated the paint scoring offensively and defensively. The strong defensive performance and a combination of Dinwiddie’s masterpiece and an 18-point performance from Dorian Finney-Smith helped Dallas secure the victory.
“We’ve been in that position with the close games and we’ve come up short,” Mavericks’ coach Jason Kidd said after the victory. “That group in that locker room believed that they could win tonight.”
Stock Up: Josh Green
With Dončić missing time to an ankle sprain, the Mavericks will need to find ways to energize the offense.
Josh Green can do that.
A week after returning from his month-long injury absence, Green hasn’t missed a beat. He averaged 12 points on 48.3% shooting from the floor and 36.4% shooting from deep.
His 16-point performance against the Wizards was fantastic, as he shot 77.8% overall and played fantastic defense to keep the team in the game late. He showcased his improvements in attacking the basket and has become a legitimate driving threat for a team that is in desperate need of them.
Green is an energizer bunny. He is a hyper-athlete that provides this team with a little bit of everything it needs. Perimeter defense? Check. Fast-break opportunism? Check. Reliable three-point shot? Check.
As Green enters unrestricted free agency this season, it would be smart for the front office to reward his improvements with a nice check of their own.
Stock Down: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Bad Tim Hardaway Jr. is back again.
After playing well through the start of the new year, Hardaway Jr. has gone ice cold. This week, Hardaway Jr. averaged just 8.7 points on an abysmal 31.3% shooting from the floor and 20% shooting from distance.
Hardaway Jr.’s inability to score within the paint makes him entirely ineffective when his three-point shot is not falling. Of qualified players, Hardaway Jr. is the worst shooter in the NBA this season, making just 38.3% of his baskets. Hardaway is making just 50% of his baskets within the restricted area, and just 33.3% of paint shots outside of the restricted area.
Unfortunately, Hardaway Jr. brings little to the table defensively. It is thus hard to justify playing him significant minutes on nights when he isn’t contributing from three-point range.
Yet, with such a thin roster, the coaching staff is left with few options.
Jan. 30 vs Detroit Pistons
Feb. 2 vs New Orleans Pelicans
Feb. 4 at Golden State Warriors