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Mavs 124, Nuggets 117
#1
MAVERICKS EARN COME-FROM-BEHIND CLUTCH OVERTIME VICTORY IN MILE-HIGH CITY

WOW-EE! The Mavs have their first back-to-back wins of the season, and in what a fashion! What began as a sleeper finished as a thriller! Very exciting developments for our young team!


GAME STORY

Players missing on the night included Denver’s Michael J. Porter and Dallas’ Trey Burke. 

Before the game, both teams locked arms and knelt at the center of the court for the national anthem. The house lights were dimmed, and stage lighting was employed to create red and blue highlights on the floor and to feature the American flag. Whatever one may think about the sentiment, the visual effect was beautiful.

Rick continued with the new starting lineup of Doncic, Richardson, Finney-Smith, Maxi and Willie. They began the first quarter in drab fashion, with most of their possessions resulting in missed shots and/or turnovers. At the 6:53 mark, Dallas had only 2 points and trailed by 9. The Mavs ground their way back, but the Nuggets closed the quarter on an 8-0 run, and our men trailed 22-28 after one. 

Both sides were dismal to start the second. Halfway through the period, Denver had scored 7 points, and Dallas 4. Yecch. Scoring picked up a little from both sides, but the Mavs couldn’t make any headway, and the deficit was 43-52 at halftime. 

Things looked bleak at the interval. Dallas was 4-21 from deep, Luka was limping and clutching his ankle, and nothing about the way the boys were playing suggested a dramatic comeback. 

The third quarter initially looked like more of the same. Denver gradually built their lead to a game-high 12, and it was still 10 at 3:08. With three minutes to go, the Mavs really picked it up, and ended the frame with a 12-4 scoring blitz. The scoreline read 76-78 after thirty-six minutes, so our team was within two. 

The fourth was played very close, with 9 lead changes, and the score difference never exceeding 4. The clutch period was tense. The game was tied at 1:59. Jovic hit one of two free throws, putting Denver ahead by one at 0:59. Luka turned the ball over, and the Nuggets had a missed three, an offensive rebound, and a missed long two. By the time the Mavs regained possession, there were only 8 seconds left. After a Dallas timeout, the Nuggets double-teamed Luka, who flung a perfect pass to an open Maxi, and he came through with the three, putting the Mavs ahead by 2, and setting off soccer-style goal celebrations among the Mavs. Alas, there were 2 seconds left, and Jokic sent the game to overtime. 109-all.

The additional period was Luka Time. This was the clutch performance we have been waiting for. He had more points in the period (9) than the entire Denver team (8). Josh, who had struggled offensively throughout the game, came through with 5 points. The team went on a scoring spree of 15 points, while holding Denver to 8. Final score: 124-117. Hooray!


NOTABLE ITEMS

Numbers.  Dallas found their shooting boots in the second half, hitting a blistering 10 of 14 three-point attempts. Over the game as a whole, they put up 10 fewer shots than the Nuggets, but shot a better percentage. They also had ten more free-throw attempts, and managed to survive missing seven of their 31 freebies. Defense was good to very good throughout the game, and Dallas earned a whopping 23 points off Denver turnovers. The Mavs’ high scorers were Luka with 38 points, DFS and Josh 14 each, Bobi 12 and Tim 11. 

Doncic. It was an outstanding night for Luka. During the first half, I worried that the altitude might be getting to him, and that his ankle might be seriously hampering him. Somehow, he shook off whatever the problem was at halftime, and gave an MVP performance after that. He had season highs in points (38) and assists (13), to go along with 9 assists and 4 steals, and managed to survive missing five free throws and committing 8 turnovers. 

What a passing  and game-management performance!! In both clutch periods, he was fantastic, and said that he had learned from all the painful lessons of the last two seasons. In terms of individual highlight plays, I’ll select a possession where he split a double team and executed a reverse layup in a manner that appeared to violate the laws of physics. Questions about his conditioning were shaken off with a 41-minute stint a mile in the air.  Ever the leader, he credited the whole team for the win in his post-game interview. What an exciting young player!

Richardson. Josh didn’t have an especially great shooting night (5-15), but he hit two huge shots in overtime, and played a critical defensive role, especially against Jamal Murray. Coach stuck with his starting units in the clutch segments, and Josh, along with the rest of the group, performed admirably. 

DFS. Doe-Doe filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, 4-8 threes, 8 boards, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in 36 minutes. At one point, he showed off his hops, elevating practically to the ceiling to throw down a thunderous putback dunk. The young fellow was his usual dependable defensive self, and it was exciting to see him take a step forward on the other end of the floor, especially after his early struggles from long range. 

Kleber. Maxi had 9 points, 8 boards, three assists, and 2 blocks, and earned a team-high +/- at 15. He came through late with 3 enormous threes. 

WCS. Carlisle trusted Willie on the floor in the critical clutch periods, and Trill exceeded expectations against Jokic. He got into foul trouble, and Carlisle saved him for the fourth quarter and overtime, where he did not disappoint. 

Bench. The second unit scored 44 points, and only two players were in negative territory. Tim had 11 points and 4 assists in 25 minutes. He was an important pillar of the Mavs’ catch-up effort, leading the team with 8 points in the third quarter. We were treated to 16 minutes of the Bobi Show, as Rick searched for size and length against Nikola. My man Bobi contributed 12 points on 5-7 shooting, and pulled down 3 boards. His deadpan standstill dunks had me laughing. Powell played only 10 minutes, but I thought he had some good moments, and elevated well on a couple of dunks. James Johnson sported a new look, having sheared off his blond thatch. Josh Green had an unusual cameo early. 

Nuggets. Denver was a more than worthy opponent, and I was relieved to see them fade a bit as the game wore on. Jokic laid 38 points and 11 boards on our guys, and Murray added 21 points and 9 assists. Whoo-ee. Gary Harris got into the act with 15 points, and Monte Morris and JaMychael Green were deadly off the bench.  


OBSERVATIONS

This was such an important game. Denver is a difficult place to play, with its talented team and thin air. The Mavs did an outstanding job of sticking it out through a rough start and being rewarded for their persistence when their shots started falling. Their defense was on a string throughout the last ten minutes, and we saw a demonstration of the visions dancing in Carlisle’s head, as his squad translated those into reality on the court. The second half and overtime were most impressive, and the indications of the team’s progress for the future are enticing. 

As a side note, we received news during the game that former Mav Seth Curry tested positive for the virus, and apparently sat with his team during the entire first quarter. Not sure what happened with that, but we surely wish Seth the best. 

And with this game, the Mavs reach .500 for the season. What a lovely experience!

Orlando is next up. 
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#2
(01-08-2021, 10:36 AM)mavsluvr Wrote: WCS. Carlisle trusted Willie on the floor in the critical clutch periods, and Trill exceeded expectations against Jokic. He got into foul trouble, and Carlisle saved him for the fourth quarter and overtime, where he did not disappoint. 


And how! (did I use that phrase right?)

WCS impressed me quite a bit last night. I honestly believe his surprisingly intelligent and consistent defensive play late in the 4th and in overtime was THE reason the Mavs won this game. 

With guys like WCS, the question will always be: Can he do it consistently? But, I'm going on record that this was the best I've ever seen him play. I hope HE feels that way, too. I'm sure he has put up better numbers before, but THIS is the game he needs to play on a winning team to earn a role that matters.
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#3
https://twitter.com/RyanMainville/status...29088?s=20
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#4
(01-08-2021, 11:13 AM)KillerLeft Wrote: https://twitter.com/RyanMainville/status...29088?s=20

Wow! Very impressive!


#5
(01-08-2021, 11:02 AM)KillerLeft Wrote: And how! (did I use that phrase right?)

WCS impressed me quite a bit last night. I honestly believe his surprisingly intelligent and consistent defensive play late in the 4th and in overtime was THE reason the Mavs won this game. 

With guys like WCS, the question will always be: Can he do it consistently? But, I'm going on record that this was the best I've ever seen him play. I hope HE feels that way, too. I'm sure he has put up better numbers before, but THIS is the game he needs to play on a winning team to earn a role that matters.
Agree that Willie dazzled and amazed in this match. 

He got into foul trouble in what seemed to me to be a dumb foul at midcourt, but it may have worked out for the best, as he came in fresh later and delivered maybe his best performance ever in the two final periods. 

If he can put this type of performance together consistently, that would be huge for the Mavs. Reports are that he has been working very hard on his game, and he says that Carlisle has made him "fall in love with the work." Inspiring!
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#6
(01-08-2021, 11:48 AM)mavsluvr Wrote: He got into foul trouble in what seemed to me to be a dumb foul at midcourt


Yes, that was a dumb foul.

I also thought he was pretty scattered and ineffective during the game's opening minutes. If you remember, the team started out by digging an 11-2 hole, and then when WCS was removed, poof - 14-14, very quickly.

I just think what he did in the 4th quarter and overtime is so, so, so what winning teams need from their centers. On a night when the Mavs' center play was problematic throughout the game (Boban was TERRIBLE), that ending from Willie really flipped the script.


#7
This was the most solid defense I've seen WCS play. And he had several outstanding plays. That said, he by no means stopped Jokic, but only managed to contain him. I rewatched the videos of Jokic's FGAs for this game, he missed a lot of wide open looks and could have easily scored 55 points in this one. That said, I hope WCS continues to improve and get minutes instead of James Johnson and Trey Burke.


#8
(01-08-2021, 12:32 PM)DaRiv Wrote: This was the most solid defense I've seen WCS play.  And he had several outstanding plays.  That said, he by no means stopped Jokic, but only managed to contain him.  I rewatched the videos of Jokic's FGAs for this game, he missed a lot of wide open looks and could have easily scored 55 points in this one.  That said, I hope WCS continues to improve and get minutes instead of James Johnson and Trey Burke.

Agree. Jokic had a wide open 3 from the top of the key on every single possession. Just had an off shooting night. Was even worse with Boban on the floor.
WCS did a good job in the post and around the rim.


#9
(01-08-2021, 12:43 PM)dirkfansince1998 Wrote: WCS did a good job in the post and around the rim.


Yeah, this is what I'm talking about. 

For whatever reason, Malone (or maybe Jokic himself) isn't comfortable going all in on creating perimeter looks for Jokic at times when it makes sense to do so. Last night, Jokic took and made wide open (understatement) 3's literally SECONDS after Boban entered BOTH times. Both times, Denver immediately went away from any kind of pick and pop action, for whatever reason. It drove me crazy in the playoffs, too, as the LA/Denver series was Dwight Howard's best moment of the post-season, when it really SHOULD have been his worst. 

But, the game plan for Denver late last night was to get Jokic in situations close to the basket. In THOSE situations, it's imperative that you not have to double him, obviously, because he's one of the top 5 passers in the game. That's how Denver beats you - you double him, and he rips you to shreds. Jokic made some shots, yes, but he was FAR from efficient in the second half of the 4th and in overtime. WCS employed verticality SUPER effectively, and avoided fouling while playing (what was to me) surprisingly great defense. If my memory serves, the Mavs only doubled Jokic once, very late, and it worked well because it came as a total surprise (because they hadn't been doubling at all beforehand). 

I'm sorry, but the fact that WCS stood toe to toe down the stretch with one of the best offensive players in the league and won more of the matchups than he lost is significant to me. I can't ignore that. I honestly don't think Porzingis would've done as well in the same situation (not that I'm in any way suggesting WCS should play ahead of KP). 

Again, I do agree that there were some strategic things that Malone/Jokic/Denver could have done differently that might have changed the outcomes of those possessions...but, they didn't.


#10
I think JRich was the player of this game. Ok, maybe it was Luka, but JRich impacted this game more than any other so far as a Mav. He literally shut down Jamal Murray when he was assigned to him (which was for over 21 possessions), like 0 points and only 3 field goal attempts. This is despite JM getting 99 touches for the game and scoring 21 points overall. I would call his defensive play the most dominant performance of the game, because IMO Luka and Jokic could have been better.
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#11
(01-08-2021, 12:57 PM)DaRiv Wrote: I think JRich was the player of this game.  Ok, maybe it was Luka, but JRich impacted this game more than any other so far as a Mav.  He literally shut down Jamal Murray when he was assigned to him (which was for over 21 possessions), like 0 points and only 3 field goal attempts.  This is despite JM getting 99 touches for the game and scoring 21 points overall.  I would call his defensive play the most dominant performance of the game, because IMO Luka and Jokic could have been better.

I will agree that Richardson's defensive impact on this game was significant, and probably a little overlooked. 

For me, personally, it's difficult to think about Richardson's defense on a night when he was so, so terrible on offense. But you're absolutely right. Just the idea that Denver decided to go to Jokic exclusively, and the fact that Murray was a complete non-factor at important times in this game does speak volumes about how Richardson performed on the defensive end.


#12
(01-08-2021, 12:43 PM)dirkfansince1998 Wrote: Agree. Jokic had a wide open 3 from the top of the key on every single possession. Just had an off shooting night. Was even worse with Boban on the floor.
WCS did a good job in the post and around the rim.

We're living in crazy times, when this performance is considered an off shooting night (38 points, 14-31, 4-10 threes), lol, but I get why you say that. 

Defending the Nuggets is complicated, with Jokic and all their shooters. Jokic was WIDE open so many times that I wondered if the Mavs had made a defensive choice to let Jokic have those deep shots in favor of trying to keep him out of the paint.
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#13
(01-08-2021, 01:09 PM)mavsluvr Wrote: Jokic was WIDE open so many times that I wondered if the Mavs had made a defensive choice to let Jokic have those deep shots in favor of trying to keep him out of the paint.


I don't believe so. I think Boban literally lacks the ability to do anything about it. But, if the defenders had been KP and WCS, rather than Boban and WCS, I don't think he gets nearly as many of those perimeter looks (even the ones he didn't take that '98 is talking about).


#14
(01-08-2021, 01:02 PM)KillerLeft Wrote: For me, personally, it's difficult to think about Richardson's defense on a night when he was so, so terrible on offense. 
I think he just missed shots, but was right to take many of those shots.  If he makes just 3 more shots then he shoots over 50% for the game.  

If you want to see terrible Mav offense, including some truly awful passes, here's video clips of our 13 turnovers, which has only 1 travel by JRich:

https://www.nba.com/stats/events/?Contex...ction=game


#15
https://twitter.com/MavsPR/status/134761...49120?s=20


#16
(01-08-2021, 01:32 PM)DaRiv Wrote: I think he just missed shots, but was right to take many of those shots.  If he makes just 3 more shots then he shoots over 50% for the game.  


Oh, it's not the missed shots that bother me. Last night more than any other so far, I thought he was turning into a ball-stopping black hole at times. Too often, imo. Hopefully, it's just a matter of him getting better at playing within the flow of the offense, but DFS, Kleber and yes, even THJ, have all learned to move the ball to a teammate quickly when they don't have an advantage. To my way of thinking, there were just too many possessions last night when the ball found Richardson halfway through the shot clock and he decided to go 1-on-1 to create a shot for himself that wasn't immediately there. 

Again, the missed open shots that come from good offensive flow don't bother me. He has to take those, just like the others do. Hopefully, he'll shoot better as the season goes on. I have in no way closed the book on that. 

And, it's not that I NEVER want him to try and create. In fact, I think he's better in that way than he is as a shooter off of the catch. But, I just thought he forced it last night. Like, a lot.
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#17
(01-08-2021, 01:32 PM)DaRiv Wrote: which has only 1 travel by JRich:


Incidentally, that travel was actually an example of what I feel was a GOOD decision by Richardson to floor the ball and attack a closeout. Obviously, the travel was an error on his part, but the thought was a good one, imo.


#18
(01-08-2021, 01:33 PM)mavsluvr Wrote: https://twitter.com/MavsPR/status/134761...49120?s=20

Luka and Maxi wrestled for that potential 10th rebound.  Did VAJ teach you nothing Luka Smile
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#19
Great summary...as always!

This one definitely started out ugly...with emphasis on the ewwww.

I really like the way they continued to play, especially on the defensive end. There were some breakdowns, but it looks better than most of the efforts we saw last season. Made life difficult for Jokic in close forcing him to be a jump shooter, sort of picking your poison there.

I think the key is they are learning that they don't have to be scoring tons if they have a reasonable defense. 2011 team could score with the best of them, especially if Dirk or JET got hot, but were still successful when the game got ugly by defensive effort until things turned around offensively. I had a little bit of that feeling last night.

Not to tout a rival, but SA has seemed to always bring it defensively and look at their success. At least until they ran out of talent. I think we could look at HOU as the reverse.


#20
I loved watching the game last night though to be honest, I only watched the 2nd half so far. The Mavs seemed to be playing well and hanging in there for the longest time, yet it felt like Denver was going to do whatever it took to hold us off......until the didn't. 

Luka was so awesome, even while he made some mistakes. The Mavs in general were clutch in winning time. 

A point I want to add is about one of my new favorite players, Jason Richardson. He is our best defender and was very effective against a player who thinks he can make every shot. Like many of the top 2 way players whose best asset is defense, sometimes he really wants to back at his opponent on the offensive end as well. That does not always work, but I think that just comes with the mentality of many great defenders, especially win they do have decent to good offensive skills. 

My conclusion, I do not mind JRich when he does this. I have watched this dynamic for so many years. JRich and now maybe WCS are a big part of why we are becoming an above average defensive team.
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This Reunion Rowdie says the AAC needs "Luka's Lunatics" for the Luka/KP and gang era.


  


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