By: Nicholas Gilanfar
Coming off a 127-116 loss at home against the Toronto Raptors, the Dallas Mavericks remained at home and hosted their first tournament game on November 10th against the Los Angeles Clippers.
As expected, the Mavs started off slow being down by double digits headed into the second quarter until things got out of hand fast as the Dallas Mavericks were able to log their first tournament win with a 144-126 victory over the LA Clippers.
Heading into the game, there was loads of anticipation with the new look Clippers as they have recently added the generational superstar in James Harden. This was Harden’s third game with the team as they lost all three with Harden making an appearance for the Clippers. Although the Clippers ultimately lost the game, they started strong in the first half of the first quarter as they had a lead of 11 points with James Harden shooting an efficient 100% with 14 points to open the quarter.
With two minutes left in the first quarter, the Clippers lead the Mavs 31-19 as the Mavs were starting off slow and were not capitalizing on all cylinders on both the offensive and defensive end. That did not last long as the Mavs started to get on a scoring run, being able to narrow into the lead closing the first quarter at 33-30. After being down 31-19, the Mavs opened the second quarter with the same energy as they cemented a 22-2 run on the Clippers and outscored them 47-18 to end the half with the Mavs leading 77-51 after one half.
The Mavs from then continued to bring the pressure towards the Clippers as it was an unfamiliarity for the Dallas Mavericks as they are usually playing in clutch games. The Mavs were able to utilize the high pace system they have instilled in the offseason and were able to use that to their advantage in a 144-126 domination against the LA Clippers for their first tournament win.
Keys to the tournament victory were the pure dominance from the superstar back court in Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, Derrick Jones Jr’s Versatility as well as the dynamic performance from the bench unit.
Back Court Heroics
Through the course of the season so far as well as the end of last season, it has taken some time for Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic to mesh on a positive level. For the tournament game against the LA Clippers, Kyrie and Luka were able to complement each other’s games which is why the game got out of hand fast. Doncic finished the game with 44 points six rebounds, and six assists shooting 17-21 from the field while Kyrie Irving finished the game with 27 points, 6 rebound, and three assists while shooting 5-9 from the three marking his most efficient game from three in the early season.
Kyrie Irving, through the course of his career, has always been the one to score and make an impact in the game, taking the reins on every offense he’s been a part of. With Dallas, he has taken a different role by setting up his teammates for success which he has strived in. Throughout Luka’s career, this game against the Clippers was one of his best shooting performances of his career which gave Kyrie the opportunity to bring the best out of Luka and his abilities in such a solid game.
Although Luka recorded another legacy game, Kyrie’s contributions cannot go unnoticed as he is learning to be more team oriented as well as picking and choosing the moments, he feels like he can contribute the most in. With Irving being able to replicate Doncic’s success the sky is the limit for this Dallas Mavericks team.
Derrick Jones Jr.- The unsung hero
Jones Jr. Was a late signing into the dying embers of the offseason coming from the Chicago Bulls as he signed with the Mavs on a veteran minimum deal. When being signed, the anticipation was for him to come off the bench and give valuable defensive minutes when needed. Everything changed on opening night as it was announced that he would start over Josh Green to start the season and has started ever since as it was a curveball for most people not happy about the result due to Josh Green and the season he had planned.
Derrick Jones Jr. Is not the flashiest player on the offensive end but can provide something for your team on the defensive end as well as being one of your most aggressive players. Jones Jr. Finished the game with his first double-double of the season scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds and three assists while playing 28 minutes. Throughout his career, this is the biggest role he has ever had as Jason Kidd has instilled a lot of trust in his starting wing to open the season.
The Bench Continues to Surge
The bench for the Mavericks was a positive factor against the LA Clippers as the Mavs combined for 54 points highlighted by the performances of Time Hardaway Jr. (17) Jaden Hardy (11) Dante Exum (8) and Dwight Powell (9).
One of the top storylines through the first 10 games is the performances from Tim Hardaway Jr. Averaging 17.9 points a game off the bench early in the season. Hardaway would continue the hot hand against the Clippers with another double-digit scoring performance going for 17 points, three rebounds and three assists. For the past two years, Hardaway served as a starter for the Mavericks, but his numbers seem to thrive better when coming off the bench which is what we saw in 2021 prior to the contract extension giving to him after that.
Another factor as of late coming off the bench is sophomore PG Jaden Hardy who was not in the rotation at the start of the season but has now reclaimed his spot in the rotation as a top guard coming off the bench. While only playing 12 minutes in the tournament game against the Clippers, Hardy was able to tally yet another double-digit game logging 11 points and two rebounds shooting 62.5% from the field. Hardy, coming into his second season has brought the Mavs a new aura as he is always bringing the energy and can be a catalyst to this Mavericks team moving forward.
Photo Via Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images