It’s known that the NBA is a make or miss league, and on Sunday night the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t think of missing against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The final score read 132-92 at the end of four, but the game was really decided in the second and third quarters.

As a team, the Mavericks offense displayed explosiveness from behind the arc that could rival anything the 2015 Warriors conjured up. If a Mavericks player looked at the rim, it went in. And it was the elite shooting of Dallas, that built a lead that proved insurmountable by the Blazers in the final game of the regular-season series.

By the start of the fourth quarter, both teams emptied the bench. Signaling to those watching that the damage was done. And as a result, the Mavs finally beat Portland who has had their number all season.

Let’s get into some key observations from the game.

Key observations: 

1.) Doncic tied his career-high in three-pointers made with eight. He also didn’t miss a single three until late in the third quarter on a step-back wing jumper. The three-point shot makes him unguardable. And when he is on from outside the arc, Dallas’ offense is unstoppable.

2.) Doncic must love playing Portland. In the three games against the Trail Blazers this season, Doncic recorded 44 points, 38 points, and now 37. Yet, the most important stat this time around is the win that Dallas finally secured against this team.

3.) Doncic’s 37 points through three quarters tied him with Dirk Nowitzki for most points through three quarters. Sunday night’s game, for Doncic, was special. And if someone just looked at his stat line it would be shocking that he only played in 30 minutes of the contest.

 4.) As a team, Dallas shot a blazing 51 percent from three and 55 percent from the floor. Those percentages aren’t going to hold up on a game-to-game basis. But in the second game against Portland in four days, it was enough.

5.) After losing a 10-point lead on Friday, Dallas held Portland to 92 points as the Mavericks locked in defensively, making life difficult for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Lillard finished the game with just 19 points on 16 shots. McCollum finished with 13 points on 15 shots and zero made threes. So much of what Portland wants to do offensively runs through those two. Dallas took them out of the game.

6.) Dallas loves the second game of these two-game series. Against the Clippers, events transpired similarly. Dallas dropped the first game but showcased exactly what it could be in the second. In the first game against Portland, Dallas didn’t play up to expectations. In the second game, the Mavericks exceeded expectations. It serves as a microcosm for Dallas’ inconsistencies all season.

Looking ahead:

Dallas has an easier game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, but it can’t take its foot off the gas peddle. Every game is a must-win, especially when the ninth-seeded Golden State Warriors only sit one game back.

The shooting separated Dallas from Portland on Sunday. Doncic set the tone, and everyone else on the team followed. The same level of intensity and focus needs to present itself early against the Timberwolves in order to give Dallas’ two stars more fourth-quarter rest.

Feature image via Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports.

 

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