The Dallas Mavericks completed their final home game of the preseason in blowout fashion on Monday night, winning 107-70 over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although OKC was missing two of its most important players in Chris Paul and Steven Adams, it was still encouraging to see the total team effort the Mavs were able to put forth in this one.
“That was a better performance than the first three (games),'' coach Rick Carlisle said of this dress-rehearsal-type performance, "but we got a long way to go. Nine more days. A lot to get done in terms of disposition, presence, those kinds of things – but positive steps.”
The Mavs young star duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis spear-headed the performance, with Doncic scoring 19 points, ten rebounds and seven assists in 27 minutes, and Porzingis putting up 17 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. As expected, neither player played in the fourth quarter.
Porzingis' shooting struggles continued in what was his third game back from his near 20-month injury layoff, as he shot 7-of-21 from the field and 3-of-9 from beyond the arc. However, the good news is that Porzingis continues to affect the game in other ways while he tries to regain his shooting rhythm before the regular season begins.
Not only does Porzingis look good physically through three preseason games played, but he and Doncic are starting to get more comfortable playing with each other as they keep getting more reps.
By far, Doncic has been the standout for the Mavs this preseason, averaging 22.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists in just 26 minutes per game. What's even more encouraging, is that Doncic is also connecting on nearly 41 percent of his threes, while attempting a little over seven per game. And after going just 5-of-10 from the free throw line in his first preseason game against the Pistons, Doncic has since alleviated concerns in that department by hitting 19-of-22 free throws over his last two games.
Aside from Doncic and Porzingis, Delon Wright's performance really stood out to me, as he filled up the stat sheet in 27 minutes, scoring nine points on 4-of-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, and a handful of deflections and hustle plays. Wright has displayed his defensive prowess all preseason, but tonight, he finally showed us a little more of what he's capable of on the offensive end as well.
Said Rick on Luka and Delon: “There’s growing chemistry there, which is important. Delon showed more of what he can give us defensively with the deflections. He had one or two blocks, (he was) pushing the ball, hitting open shots, driving, causing problems. Luka’s had a great summer. He’s had a great training camp. He showed you all parts of his game tonight.''
The Mavs will now travel to Canada to take on Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in Vancouver. This will be the Mavs final preseason game before opening the regular season at home against the Washington Wizards on October 23rd.