The Dallas Mavericks took on the Chicago Bulls, winning 115-109 and for the first time in the last three seasons now have a winning record! I know it’s only three games in but it feels good to be winning. Here are a few tonight’s victory:
Is Luka being too unselfish?
Luka once again looked like a savvy NBA veteran instead of a 19-year-old rookie in his third NBA game. Leading the Mavs at half with 13 points and four assists, he was off to a great start to lead the way. There are moments where sometimes his unselfishness leads to turnovers. Whether passing up the open shot for a tough stepback that he’s come so comfortable with or attempting a lob to Dennis or DJ. It is uncertain how much of this is trying to keep his teammates involved and how much he is going for that highlight assist. It’s hard to be so critical on a rookie but it is clear he is special and could take on more of a scoring role than he is now.
Defense was better but still needs work
With another high scoring game and Maverick opponent shooting near 50%, it’s looking like defense will be a season long obstacle. Granted teams league wide are averaging more points per game, yet the Mavs are still trending in the wrong direction. Rick Carlisle said it at the beginning of the season, “Jordan can’t do it alone.” Luckily, the Bulls scored only 109. I know, saying “only” 109 points sounds ridiculous but after giving up over 130 points over the first two games, this seems to be a step in the right direction. With a few new faces on the team, growing pains are expected but this needs to be remedied soon if the Mavs look to make noise in the stacked West.
DJ is more than just a defensive player
DeAndre has always been known as a great defender inside but his precision around the basket on the offensive end is an underrated aspect of his game and that has surely showed early this season. With Luka and Dennis as playmakers, DJ has been able to get easy buckets and putbacks inside. “He’s been sensational. He’s giving us a major presence inside,” Carlisle said if DJ’s offensive game. Also, one of the concerns regarding DeAndre Jordan coming in was his horrific free throw shooting. Tonight and through the first three games, he continued to make defenses pay when sent to the charity stripe. This is one of the biggest surprises of the young season. “He’s stroking the free throws at a high rate. I think he’s leading our team in free throw percentage,” Rick added. If Jordan’s new found free throw stroke can continue it should cement him in the All-Star conversation among centers this year.
The Dallas Mavericks look to extend their winning streak to three games as they head into Atlanta on Wednesday, where fellow rookie Trae Young just came off a 35 point, 11 assist performance against the Cavs. It should be a first of many future duels between these two potential franchise players who were traded for each other on draft night.
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