Luka Doncic must have taken Monday’s loss to the Clippers personally. He showed he had something to prove on Wednesday night.
In Dallas’ 105-89 win over the Clippers, it was Doncic’s 42 points and nine assists that changed the game for the Mavericks offensively.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 18, 2021
1.) Doncic was superhuman, but Dallas might be asking him to do too much, again. It is no secret the Mavericks roster isn’t spectacular. Against the Clippers, Doncic played 43 minutes, and each one was needed. Dallas was an astonishing +29 with him on the floor. Without him, things went sideways. The goal for this season was to build on last season’s success. That hasn’t been the case. The Mavericks can’t keep asking Doncic to make the impossible routine. A move to get him help needs to be a priority soon.
2.) Doncic’s three-point shooting finally looks efficient. Luka shot 6-11 from three, en route to his 42 points. In the last 10 games, Doncic is shooting 42 percent from three. The deep ball opens up the floor for Doncic. Teams have to sell out in order to stop him, and in doing so he finds crafty spaces on the floor to fit paces through or create shots for others. He needed a consistent three-point shot. And now he finally has it.
3.) A horrific three-point shooting night from the Clippers saved a Dallas team that didn’t bring much offensively. Outside of Doncic, no other Mavericks player scored 20 or more points. If the Clippers don’t shoot an uncharacteristic 9-32 from three, the outcome could have easily flipped.
4) Dallas still struggles defensively against bigger wings who can slash and get to the rim. This has been the story of this Dallas team all season. Without a true rim protector to deter drives, the paint becomes a highway for anyone to drive down. Bigger wings have had a field day when playing Dallas. And in Wednesday’s game, Paul George was no different. He scored 28 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 62 percent from three. On a night when the Clippers are hitting shots from the outside, his gravity on the floor will open scoring opportunities up for others.
Beating the Clippers is always a good sign for Dallas. Though inconsistent, the Clippers are still a good win in this year’s NBA. It shows that the Mavs can compete against the title-contending of the elite teams in the league.
The next two games are against the Portland Trail Blazers, a team Dallas has had significant trouble defending this season. But at the same, what team has successfully slowed down Damian Lillard? It will be coined a success if the Mavericks can hold Lillard to under 35 points. Only time can tell how good this Mavericks team will be by the end of the season.
Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports