Monday’s result: Dallas Mavericks 127, Oklahoma City Thunder 106 ... and we've got Mavs Donuts ...
DONUT 1: FUNDAMENTAL FORMULA Simple, when Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis suit up the Mavs are a good basketball team.
Both returned Monday night and were predictably dominant, combining for 45 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. When they both play, the Mavs are 12-3 this season. Without those two, the Mavs lost to this putrid Thunder squad on March 11.
READ MORE: Mavs Cruise At OKC
“We’re happy when those two are out there,” Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “We know we have a better chance of winning ballgames and we just got to make sure they stay healthy and locked in.”
DONUT 2: SLOW STARTS STOPPED The Mavs led 33-24 after the first quarter. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you realize it’s the first time since before the All-Star break they led after the opening 12 minutes.
The quick start – fueled by Porzingis’ aggressive 12 points – broke a 10-game streak of trailing after the first quarter. The significance? Mavs are now 16-0 when they lead after the first.
There were imperfections in the next quarter, but as coach Rick Carlisle said, "Overall I thought it was a lot of very good offensive stuff. You’re talking 127 points in an NBA game, you’re moving it pretty good. And 30 assists - that’s a damn good number.”
DONUT 3: HOLY MOSES Good to see familiar face Moses Brown cashing in for Oklahoma City. The 7-foot-2 center that honed his skills in 2019-20 with the G-League Texas Legends in Frisco recently produced a 21-point, 23-rebound game for the Thunder and was rewarded with a four-year contract worth almost $7 million.
With Al Horford shut down the rest of the season as part of the Thunder’s tanking in the present and stockpiling for the future (18 first-round picks over the next seven years), Brown will get lots of opportunity to earn that money.
DONUT 4: FAMILIAR FOE The Mavs won the season series, 2-1, after playing the Thunder for the third time in 26 days in March. Thanks, quirky COVID schedule.
DONUT 5: LUKA’S RETURN Without Doncic in uniform, the Mavs had lost two in a row. It does make one question the "load management'' thing in general (though Luka has been dealing with an illness and a sore back), as our Mavs Step Back podcast addresses here.
Anyway ... He wasn’t spectacular, just steady and superb. You know you’re a superstar when you seem “rusty” and leave in the middle of the fourth quarter with 25 points and four 3-pointers.
DONUT 6: MONDAY MARCH MADNESS Turned into a decent night for Texas basketball. Baylor and Houston advanced to the Final Four while the Mavs snapped their modest two-game losing streak.
The San Antonio Spurs’ loss to the Sacramento Kings, by the way, allows the Mavs to slip into 7th place in the West by percentage points.
DONUT 7: ROAD TRIPPIN’ The Mavs won their 13th road game. In the West, the top six teams all have more road wins. In the East, only the Brooklyn Nets. Dallas’ current five-game trip continues in Boston Wednesday before closing out Friday-Saturday in New York and Washington.
DONUT 8: DELAYED DEBUT While the Lakers are adding double-double machine Andre Drummond and the Nets acquired LaMarcus Aldridge, the Mavs are still in a holding pattern for the arrival of sharpshooter JJ Redick.
READ MORE: The JJ Scouting Report
The veteran is recovering from a heel injury, with still no timetable for his return.
DONUT 9: FOND FAREWELL For what it’s worth – admittedly, not much – the Mavs won their final game televised on Fox Sports Southwest. By the time they jump it up Wednesday in Boston, the network will be rebranded as Bally Sports.
DONUT 10: MELLI TIME Pretty impressive run for Mavs’ newcomer Nicolo Melli, acquired in last week’s deadline deal for James Johnson, etc. The 30-year-old made some heady assists off drives, kept a couple of offensive possessions alive with tap-outs of missed shots and made his first three baskets for Dallas – a runner in the lane, a breakaway dunk and a foul-line jumper – to push the Mavs’ lead to 104-83 early in the fourth.
“It felt good,” Melli said. “I’m happy to be on this team. I like the group. I was glad to have the opportunity to play.”
DONUT 11: JUST JOSHIN’ Mavs snapped a strange streak by winning a game in which Josh Richardson scored fewer than 10 points. He scored nine, improving Dallas to 1-10 when he doesn’t hit double-digits.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD In a game they could’ve won by simply not tripping over themselves, the Mavs efficiently took care of business against one of the NBA’s most hapless outfits.
They jumped to a 23-11 lead on Hardaway Jr.’s corner triple and were really never threatened, putting the game away with a 12-4 run that pushed the gap to 17 after three quarters. In a game in Chesapeake Energy Arena that featured all the intensity of a Summer League scrimmage, the Mavs welcomed back Doncic and Porzingis while the Thunder played without its top three leading scorers and didn’t play anyone with more than four years’ experience in the NBA.
“You’ve got to give Oklahoma credit — playing the guys they played, they played hard, they played together,'' Hardaway said. "But for us we’re just focusing on ourselves out there for the most part.''