The Dallas Mavericks finished their 2020-2021 pre-season schedule 2-1 on Thursday, falling to Karl-Anthony Towns, first-overall pick Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves, 129-127, at the American Airlines Center.
As has been the case for the majority of the preseason so far, the Mavs came out firing on all cylinders, displaying a likely unprecedented amount of chemistry for a team with so much turnover in its rotation ... raining 3's from beyond the arc at an impressive rate.
Things got close late for Dallas, however, with the once-double-digit lead dwindling down to zero points and a tie with less than two minutes to go in the game, eventually reaching the overtime period. Unfortunately for Dallas, the rookie-heavy lineup was unable to hold off the Timberwolves' attack in the overtime period, despite some solid play from Josh Green and Tyler Bey.
Despite that, it was an impressive performance for the Mavs regular rotation players, with the usual suspects chipping in to build the big lead in the first three quarters.
“We learned some things about our guys and got a chance to work chemistry, work on playing together, work on defending together, work on playing offense together,” coach Rick Carlisle said of the preseason in general. “I’m going to be positive about it.
“I think there are things we could be doing better right now, but that’s why we’ve got four more days of practice before we play. All in all, I thought it was fine.”
Mavs superstar Luka Doncic got things started early for Dallas, and looked to be in midseason form, leading the way with 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in 27 minutes of action, while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 points and six boards, and hit four of five threes.
Three other Mavs also finished in double figures, including Dorian Finney-Smith with 13 points, Josh Richardson with 13 points, and Maxi Kleber, who finished with 14 points off of the bench.
In more important matters, however, the Mavs will now turn their attention to the regular season, where Chris Paul, Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton and the new-look Phoenix Suns await them at PHX Arena on next Wednesday's opening night.
It is the second time in the last three years that Dallas has opened up the regular in Phoenix, with the Suns, taking the last opening day matchup 121-110 in Doncic's NBA regular-season debut.
“I’m excited,” Finney-Smith said. “I feel like we’ve got a great group of guys, especially with the new guys. They’ve all been here and we all want one thing. That’s to win and get back to the playoffs and win the championship.”