DALLAS - With a new addition to the Dallas starting lineup, the Mavericks suffered a 114-96 defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Mavs could not find an answer to Cavs big man Jarrett Allen in the paint, who scored 28 points and added 14 rebounds to help Cleveland run away with the game in the third quarter.
Mavs star Luka Doncic made seven 3’s tonight, marking the 33rd game of his career with five-or-more treys. Doncic has now passed Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki (32) for the most such games in franchise history.
While Doncic went 7 of 11 from deep, the rest of the Mavs went a combined 4 of 26. Doncic's triple-double vs. the Cavs couldn't mask the shooting struggles of the rest of the team. Doncic led the Mavs with with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
"We've got to continue to trust,'' coach Jason Kidd said after the blowout. "Luka could easily not pass it to anyone because no one is making shots. He has to continue to trust and make the right basketball play, which he had a triple-double, which is an incredible feat in itself when we can't make shots.''
The Mavs were without Willie Cauley-Stein, who is dealing with a non-COVID related illness. Moses Brown got his first start at center with Dwight Powell coming off the bench. Entering the game, Brown has only played a total of 18 minutes totaling six points, five rebounds, and two blocks in six games this season.
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The Mavs were hoping the tall-ball combination of Kristaps Porzingis (7-foot-3) and Brown (7-foot-2) would help their recent rebounding struggles. Porzingis got the AAC rocking early with a quick two blocks and a one-handed slam dunk that gave the Mavs an early 14-12 lead. Porzingis finished with nine points, five rebounds and four blocks.
To make the loss worse? Porzingis appeared to tweak something and limped off the floor at the end of the third quarter. He went to the locker room and was ruled out to return to the game with a right ankle sprain.
Said Kidd on KP's injury: "He twisted his ankle. The (X-ray) was negative. I think he stepped on Maxi's foot. We'll see how he feels tomorrow.''
Against the Cavs, Brown had two points and two rebounds before getting into foul trouble in the third quarter. The Mavs were out-rebounded by the Cavs, 33-48. The defensive problems continued as Dallas drops it's second-straight game.
Next up, the Mavs play a home-and-home vs. the New Orleans Pelicans, playing in New Orleans on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. CT. They will try to follow the lead of Doncic and try to stick together.
“Yeah, this is what a real team does, in tough times they stick together,'' Doncic, who has the 4th best odds to win NBA MVP said. "It’s easy to stay together when it’s all good, but tough times, that’s when we gotta stay together.”