Dallas (27-34) will play host to the Memphis Grizzlies (24-39) tonight after holding home court against the Pacers 110-101 on Wednesday. Currently sitting at the 12th seed in the playoff standings and 4.5 games out of the 8th spot, this is the Mavs final chance to make a playoff push. With the next four games vs. winnable teams, Grizzlies, Nets, Wizards, and Magic, every game is a must win.
Luka wins Rookie of the Month (again)
Luka was named the February Western Conference Rookie of the Month for his stellar play averaging 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists along with two triple-doubles. This is his fourth consecutive time, becoming the first Maverick to win the award four times, Jay Vincent had won it three times in 1981. Luka can sweep the Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards and join Karl-Anthony Towns, Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin, and LeBron James all of whom took home the Rookie of the Year award.
Having just turned the ripe old age of 20 on Thursday, “The Wonder Boy” is all grown up, well he’s not a teenager anymore. He owns plenty of accolades already for his young age and seems to be set to finish with the strongest rookie season since LeBron.
Don’t forget Jalen
Jalen Brunson was crucial in the win against the Pacers finishing with a career-high 24 points on 9/14 shooting along with three rebounds, five assists, and three steals. His confidence continues to grow with each day as he finds ways to impact the game with his scoring, play making, and even the occasional defensive play.
Obviously Doncic gets most of the rookie coverage and it’s understandable with all the “Luka Magic” he’s throwing around. So it’s easy to forget Brunson the second-round pick who was considered by many as the steal of the Draft. Having led two Villanova teams to NCAA Championships and the consensus National College Player of the Year in 2018, this rookie is a winner. Brunson will never blow you away with his athleticism or flashy passes but there is nothing he can’t do on the court.
These two young players will build on their chemistry as the year goes on and we might remember this as the draft that netted two future Dallas legends. They may just be the best Rookie duo the Mavs have had since the days of Mark Aguirre and Jay Vincent.
Conley the last man standing
Gone are the “Grit and Grind” days in Memphis that defined the city of Memphis since 2010. The low scoring, slow paced, defensive dominance is just not the same with so many of those players retired or traded. The latest of these were Marc Gasol, who was traded to the Toronto Raptors at the deadline, and Zach Randolph who hasn’t played all year was dealt to Dallas (then bought out) in the Harrison Barnes deal.
The only player left from that era is Mike Conley, who continues to lead by example while also averaging 20.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. He always seems to play well at the AAC and games against Memphis are never easy. If Brunson gets the nod to guard Conley, this would be a good test for the rookie to go toe-to-toe against a player who is an all-around type on both sides of the ball. If the Mavs can prevent him from getting hot beyond the arc, they should be able to take care of business tonight.
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