By: Nicholas Gilanfar
The Dallas Mavericks are surging to start the season as they have a 6-1 record which marks their best start since 2004-05 with a 7-1 level.
After missing the playoffs during the 2022-23 season, many changes were made regarding the roster as the desired stature in roster building was high tempo and defensive production. So far, the Mavericks have held up their end of the bargain as they have logged six highly impressive victories to start the 2023-24 campaign.
Dallas’s only loss of the season took place in the opening game of the in-season tournament on Friday November 3rd against the defending champs Denver Nuggets losing 125-114 with Denver maintaining the pace of champions. The Mavs would then have the day off on Saturday, then prepare for a back-to-back playing the Charlotte Hornets at home on Sunday November 5th and playing the Orlando Magic in Orlando on Monday November 6th.
Early into the season, this group showed an abundance of resilience in the second half of the game as they were not outscored in the second half through seven games. The positive trends in the dying embers have to do with the emergence of the defensive blueprint Jason Kidd had at the start of the season. Guys like Derrick Jones Jr, Grant Williams, and Derrick Lively have brought the Dallas Mavericks starting lineup a new energy and elusiveness towards the game which paid off immensely against both Charlotte and Orlando.
Back-to-Back 15 Point Comebacks
Coming into the game with Charlotte, the Mavs had a chip on their shoulder after losing back-to-back games against Charlotte last March which defined the remainder of the season by missing out on the postseason. In the first half of Sunday’s game the Mavs were nearing the same result as Charlotte lead the game at the half with a 62-50 lead with four players being in double figures, not including superstar PG Lamelo Ball.
In the first half the Mavs approach did not go as plan as they were 6/26 from the three-point line as it was an area of struggle for Mavs superstar Luka Doncic as he went 1-9 for the game. Heading into the second half the Dallas Mavericks found their aura as they were able to outscore the Hornets 33-22 in the 3rdquarter trailing only by one point at 84-83. Going into the fourth the Mavs continued their dominance as they were able to take over the fourth quarter outscoring Charlotte 41-34 and securing a 124-118 victory.
The come from behind victory against the Charlotte Hornets was clearly a group effort as the Mavs had seven plays in double figures with Luka Doncic (23), Kyrie Irving (18), Grant Williams (18), Time Hardaway Jr. (16), Derrick Lively II (15), Jaden Hardy (14), Dwight Powell (10). The usual suspects in the starting lineup were able to make an impact on the scoring end but the performances from Jaden Hardy and Dwight Powell should be taken into account as both came off the bench and only played for 15 minutes.
Directly after the Charlotte game, it was a quick turnaround for the Mavs as they had to shift gears and head to Orlando to take on the Magic the next day. The Mavs were keeping it close during the start of the game as they were executing on the defensive end but still trailing after one 33-27. Things started to get out of hand in the second quarter as Paolo Banchero and the Wagner brothers were wreaking havoc on the defensive gameplan as they took a 66-53 lead going into halftime.
After a lackluster first half, with no surprise in the second half Mavs arrived being able to maintain the process and found themselves creeping in on the deficit as they ended the third quarter trailing only 86-83. Entering the fourth quarter, the Mavs put on an absolute clinic on both ends by outscoring the Magic 31-19 in the fourth quarter and cementing yet another 15-point comeback defeating the Orlando Magic 117-102.
Luka Doncic led the way in scoring against Orlando after an efficient 9/17 shooting performance while also shooting 50% from three after a horrid shooting performance against the Hornets. Tim Hardway Jr. Also continues to be a vital player off the bench as he had 21 points and tied Kyrie Irving was a team high in rebounds at six. With Kyrie Irving taking a step back in the offense and becoming more versatile, he had 21 points, six rebounds and ten assists. This was Kyries second straight game with ten assists averaging 7.8 assists a game early on in theseason which means Kyrie is starting to thrive playing off the ball.
The Dallas Mavericks as well as the rest of the NBA will take Tuesday off then the Mavs will return back to action and head back home for a two-game stand featuring the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday November 8th and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday November 10th. The game against the Clippers will be another in-season tournament game as the Dallas Mavericks look to clinch their first tournament win at the American Airlines Center.
Photo Via Jerome Miron/ USA TODAY Sports