Dallas continued to perplex their rivals in its third straight win against an undermanned Spurs squad. The Mavericks were led by a dominant effort from the tandem of Luka Doncic (32 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds) and Kristaps Porzingis (32 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks). Doncic’s 38th triple double helped him outshine his backcourt counterparts. The Mavericks surged out in front in the first period and ran its advantage to as high as 27 throughout the last three quarters. San Antonio fell to 4-8 in the loss and Dallas moved to 8-4, while ascending up the conference standings.
The height-challenged and skittish Spurs were forced to play Drew Eubanks and Thaddeus Young extended minutes and committed a slew of unforced errors trying to keep up with the visitors. Dejounte Murray (15 points and 5 rebounds) and Keldon Johnson (15 points and 9 rebounds) paced San Antonio, while Devin Vassell chipped in 20 points and 2 blocks off the bench. San Antonio did assist on 30 of its 41 (73%) field goals. Mercifully, San Antonio and Dallas do not see each other again until the final day of the season.
- Even better than those slick Fiesta uniforms? The upgraded warm-up jackets and the “Ya’ll Ready for This” song that was recycled from the mid-90s! Bryn Forbes beamed pregame: “I think they’re the best ones in the league this year!”
- There is absolutely no good reason for the Spurs to play any division rival - particularly their BIGGEST rival - three times in the first month of the season.
- My unofficial entries in the renaming the Spurs’ home sweepstakes : Popeyes Pavilion, Church’s Center, Whataburger Center, Mi Tierra Arena, and last but not least, Take it to the Rackspace.
- I feel like all of us need a basketballl-themed HEB “Connect Four” game in our backyards.
- Coach Jason Kidd repeated the prior blueprint of having a big (Porzingis tonight and Boban Marjanovic last week) in motion or in the post to feast on a cadre of shorter defenders.
- Doug McDermott is bringing the type of consistent shooting and spacing that Davis Bertans wasn’t able to supply during his time here.
- Murray’s Magic: What is noticeable about Murray as he probes the defense is that he’s now an expert at protecting his handle from many angles and eludes guards and bigs adeptly.
- Derrick’s D: On what looked like a certain breakaway bucket in the first half, White exercised his verticality at the rim to force a miss by Sterling Brown. White repeated the same feat moments later.
- Devin’s Deeds: His shooting form from the catch and off the dribble looks so efficient, smooth, and most importantly, repeatable - boding well for future success.
- (Awkward) Sequence of the Night: Late in the opening half, Murray attempted a Pop-a-shot from the paint, which fell feebly to Young for a putback.
- Actual Sequence of the Night: Minutes later, a driving Murray sucked in the Dallas defense deep into the paint and he whipped a no-look pass to Young for a floater.
- Young Contributions: In the first quarter, while Doncic moved upcourt in transition, Thaddeus snuck up behind the unsuspecting Luka to swipe the ball away YMCA-style.
- The Spurs’ first three makes came from behind the arc. Dallas sought out mismatches by posting up Doncic and Porzingis to early success. Though the Mavericks had a decided height advantage, San Antonio defended well enough despite Eubanks picking up his second foul four minutes in. However, Doncic caught fire midway through the frame to push his team ahead via a 13-0 run. San Antonio exited the period following frigid shooting and Dallas held a 31-22 lead.
- Vassell and Johnson kept the Spurs in striking range with several needed threes. A Tale of Two Cities: White was raked across the face on a drive with nary a foul call, while Doncic was gifted a call after crumpling to the floor under the weight of his hubris. Tre Jones was given playing time to help bolster a putrid perimeter performance. San Antonio stayed within several possessions of the Mavericks for the bulk of the frame, but a pair of Porzingis dunks off of gorgeous feeds from Doncic kept them at bay. Back-to-back long-distance threes by Doncic (30’) and Porzingis (half-court) pushed the visitors out to 68-57 at the half.
- Coming out of the break, Doncic and his teammates ran roughshod through the Spurs’ defense to make it 86-64. Dorian Finney-Smith asserted himself in the halfcourt and in transition to help make that happen. San Antonio continued to have difficulty putting a dent into the deficit for much of the quarter. Spur irritant Jalen Brunson had his way in the halfcourt, and a barrage of Mavericks threes made it 102-77 and the outcome certain.
- The final stanza ended up being an extended “tiempo basura” and Dallas kept its stars surprisingly in the game. It seemed the only thing to stop Doncic tonight was a tumble out of bounds into the first rows of fans. Lonnie Walker IV and Vassell found their outside shooting touch, which was an encouraging sign.. Jones benefitted from the large chunk of playing time.
For the Mavericks fan’s perspective, please visit Mavs Moneyball.
San Antonio begins a quirky west-to-midwest road trip in Los Angeles by taking on Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon at 2:30 CDT.