Coming into tonight riding a three-game winning streak, the Mavs knew they’d have a tough test against the defending champs, even though Steph Curry and Draymond Green would not play. And in defending champs fashion, the Warriors showed up, looking to end their recent slump.
In a true battle with both teams trading haymakers all night, the Mavs finished strong down the stretch with big shots and free throws from Luka Doncic. On the defensive end, Harrison Barnes and Dorian Finney-Smith locked down Durant and Thompson in the final minute to seel the game, 112-109.
No stage is too big for #77
The kid is a phenomenon. It doesn’t matter who stands across enemy lines; Luka shows up to play. Tonight, was no different with the Warriors in town. Luka got off to a scorching start, with 12 first quarter points, going toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, who had 11 in the first 12 minutes himself.
As the stage got brighter and the clock winded down, Luka found himself locked into a comfort zone that not many 19-year-old rookies, let alone players in this league can reach. Hitting contested threes and layups altered by contact, Luka was in the zone. He clinched the game by draining clutch free throws down the stretch, which he and the team had struggled to make all game long.
Luka gives us the lead! pic.twitter.com/2dk0O28vTW
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) November 18, 2018
“I thought both Doncic and Barnes carry our team. Doncic is a guy who loves having the ball in his hands and making plays,” Carlisle said postgame about Luka’s play. Luka finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, and four assists on the night. Whether it’s the champs or not, Doncic fears no one.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) November 18, 2018
Barnes looks like himself
It has taken some time for HB to get into a groove after missing the first four games, but he is finally looking like the Barnes that we are accustomed to seeing. And not to forget, tonight may have added a little extra motivation, being that his former team was in the building.
Harrison came out aggressive in the first half alongside Luka, scoring 15 points in the first 24 minutes. No stranger against the Warriors, HB found his spots without forcing the issue, finishing the game with 23 points and eight rebounds, including a strong defensive effort against Kevin Durant down the stretch.
“Harrison’s defense this year has been tremendous,” Carlisle said. “He’s really picked it up to a level that he hasn’t been at since he’s been here.” With HB looking fluid on offense and playing his best defense in a Mavs uniform, it’s safe to say that Dallas is finding a consistent stride.
Free throws are your friend
They’re called free throws for a reason and yet, the Mavs just refused to take advantage of them tonight. Dallas just couldn’t find a rhythm at the charity stripe, shooting just 64.7% for the game, missing 12 attempts.
Dallas went a stretch in the third quarter where it seemed like every shot from the line was clanking off the rim, leaving the Mavs fans groaning in the crowd and the Warriors licking the their chops. Dennis Smith Jr. took ownership for his 2/7 performance from the line after the game. “It starts with me. I missed a lot. Just about putting the work in and trusting your routine.”
Luckily in the final minutes, DeAndre, Dorian, and certainly Luka, knocked down clutch free throws to clinch the game. Though, missing so many free throws in such a back-and-forth game, especially against the Warriors and especially with Curry and Green out, can easily be considered the kryptonite for the Mavs tonight.
Dallas will hit the road looking to extend their winning streak to five games against the Memphis Grizzlies.
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