Another preseason game, another battle of MVP candidates.
In the Dallas Mavericks' second preseason game of three, the Mavs (1-0) look for back-to back wins against the Milwaukee Bucks (0-1) and stay undefeated (wink) in the 2020-21 preseason.
Mavericks star Luka Doncic is the betting favorite to usurp Giannis Antetokounmpo entering the 2020-2021 season as the league MVP. Doncic would be the youngest MVP in NBA history.
Look for Doncic and the rest of the starters to work toward getting back in sync against the Bucks, before the bench gets significant time. The NBA starts up for real in less than two weeks with the Mavs first regular season game on December 23.
A big question that needs answering for Dallas: While Kristaps Porzingis is out (knee rehab, projected to play in January), who will start in his place?
Dwight Powell, a starter before rupturing his right Achilles tendon on Jan. 21, is an obvious option. In his first game action on Saturday, Powell recorded 5 points and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes. But center Willie Cauley-Stein could also make a case for increased playing time. Cauley-Stein only played 13 games for the Mavs last season and averaged 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 68.9 percent from the field in only 12.1 minutes per game.
But in Game 1? He was certainly a presence inside.
TAKEAWAYS FROM GAME ONE:
The Mavericks won their preseason opener agains the Bucks, 112-102. Doncic played 16 minutes and led the team with 13 points, two rebounds and four assists. Dallas starting five looked to be an improved defensive unit with perimeter defenders with Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Richardson. Dallas challenged Antetokounmpo with physicality but the reigning MVP finished with 25 points and 10 boards in 25 minutes.
First-round NBA draft pick Josh Green scored his first bucket as a pro.
University of Houston product Nate Hinton totaled 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 points and earned some praise from Coach Rick Carlisle. Every available player saw the court for the Dallas in the first preseason game, including the entire rookie class.
WHEN: Monday, Dec 14, 2020 at 7 p.m. CT
LOCATION: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN 103.3 Radio
THE FINAL WORD For Doncic, the clock is clicking.
“I think we did a great job (on defense in the first game),'' he said. Milwaukee is one of the top teams in the NBA. We don’t have a lot of time, and we just got to keep going like that and keep practicing.”