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Luka Magic continues in Mavericks season opening win over the Wizards

Photo: Nick White/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Luka Magic continues in Mavericks season opening win over the Wizards

A new era of Mavericks basketball officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center.  While a lot of things were new, one thing definitely remained the same from last season: Luka Doncic is damn good at basketball.

The 2018-2019 NBA Rookie of the Year led the Mavs with 34 points in their 108-100 win over the Washington Wizards. New running buddy Kristaps Porzingis added 23 of his own in his first regular season game since injuring his ACL in February 2018.

Starters start slow, bench revs it up
The Mavericks trotted out a starting lineup of Doncic, Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, Delon Wright and Courtney Lee and the quintet struggled offensively to start the game. Once the bench began to get mixed in with the likes of Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson, Justin Jackson and Seth Curry, the offense began to kick it into gear.

Washington held a 22-15 lead with 2:36 left in the first quarter but the Mavs bench plus Doncic was able to go on a 24-7 run over the next several minutes to give Dallas a lead that would comfortably stay in double-digits for more or less the remainder of the game.  Coach Rick Carlisle was encouraged by what he saw from that group on the defensive end.

“You always want to get your offense jump started on defense, and those guys got a few stops during those times.”

Luka Magic vs Bradley Beal
As the Mavericks tried to close out a win in the fourth quarter, the spotlight began to shine directly on Luka Doncic and Wizards star guard Bradley Beal.

Fresh off signing a hefty contract extension earlier this week, Beal struggled with his shot on Wednesday.  Shooting just 1-11 from beyond the arc, Beal shifted his focus to locking down Luka in the fourth quarter.  Doncic did enter the fourth quarter with 32 points and finished with 34, one short of his career high.

The pair were frequently locked up in one-on-one battles on the perimeter and there were definitely some exchanges of words in the heat of competition.  Eventually things would come to a head with the pair each being assessed a technical foul before Beal’s decision to wave off the referees led to an ejection.  Beal was sure to initiate some dap between the two before beginning his escorted walk back to the locker room.

Extra notes:
Veterans J.J. Barea and Boban Marjanovic were DNP-Coach’s Decision’s on opening night.  Rick Carlisle was not pressed to comment on the matter after the game… Tim Hardaway Jr. briefly left the game after rolling his ankle under the basket early in the game.  He would later return to the game and finish with four points… Rick Carlisle said after the game the unexpected start for veteran Courtney Lee was given because of his proven track record on film of doing well defending Bradley Beal.  Beal did shoot just 7-25 overall from the field.  Lee scored four points in 16 minutes… The new “statement” jerseys made their debuts tonight.  They looked underwhelming and easily comparable to practice jerseys online and that did not change in person. Mavs rookie Isaiah Roby said before the game they were growing on him, but he was confused as to what was the backstory/inspiration behind it. Can anyone answer that? The Mavericks have insisted that “It’s all in the details” but there seem to be no interesting details to these uniforms.  To end on a high note…

The perfect cherry on top of tonight’s game:

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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