The Mavs had a lot of close, disappointing losses on the road since they had last won on the road back on November 28th against the Houston Rockets. For their first road game in 2019, they opted for a blowout, insane win over the Charlotte Hornets.
The road win was just the third for Dallas this season as they “boost” their road record to 3-16. Maybe just one win is all it will take to help turn things around for the Mavs away from the American Airlines Center this season.
Here are my three biggest takeaways from a 122-84 win in Charlotte tonight.
Three point shooting sets the tone
Shots from beyond the arc were the culprit of the Mavericks busting out to a double digit lead that would only grow in the first quarter.
Dallas hit ten three-point shots in the opening frame with five coming from the Luka Doncic/Dennis Smith Jr. duo.
The Mavericks would go on to make 18 three’s in the game and shoot 40% from beyond the arc and 46% overall from the field. Those shooting stats make it hard for a team to lose; home or away.
Defense hammers things home
While the Mavs were shooting flames from deep in this game, the Hornets were cold as ice. For the game, the Hornets shot just 19% on three pointers and 35% overall.
While the Hornets put up a respectable 50 points combined in the first and third quarters, their poor shooting and Mavericks defense held them to just 34 points combined in the second and fourth quarters.
Charlotte’s All-Star candidate guard Kemba Walker came into Wednesday’s game averaging close to 26 points per game. A defensive effort led by Dennis Smith Jr. limited the 28 year-old UCONN alum to just 11 points on just 4-14 shooting. Walker had scored 21 or more points in seven straight games heading into Wednesday. He torched the Washington Wizards for 47 points this past Saturday night. It was his fourth 40+ point performance of the year and he even had a 60 point performance back on November 16th. Interestingly, Charlotte is just 1-3 in those 40+ point performances this season.
Dennis and Luka show off their potential as a duo
While none of the Mavericks starters played in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks young duo of Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic combined to lead a balanced scoring attack to put things out of reach through three quarters.
The pair combined for 36 points (18 points each) with Doncic adding 10 rebounds and Smith Jr. having 7 assists.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) January 3, 2019
Smith Jr. showed that he enjoyed being back at home and continued his streak of very solid play since coming back last week from a week injury that kept him out of most of December. The second year guard shot 3/5 from deep tonight and helped him get to 53% (9/17) in the last four games. Since his return from injury, Smith Jr. has been very solid with 14 points, 4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. While those aren’t All-Star worthy numbers, they are are very solid and will help the Mavericks win games.
With the win, Dallas improved to 18-19 on the season. The Mavericks didn’t record their 18th win until February 10th last season… Dwight Powell bounced back from a tough few games with a 15 point, 8 rebound performance that even included two made three point shots. For the season, Powell it shooting just 17% from deep… Dirk Nowitzki scored 6 points on two shots from deep Wednesday night. Nowitzki has looked better as of late. He is averaging 7.5 points per game in his last four games after averaging just 2.2 through his first five games of the season.
The Mavericks will continue their three-game road trip this Friday in Boston when they will take on the Celtics at 7 PM on ESPN.
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