DALLAS – It may have been a preseason game, but the Dallas Mavericks wasted no time getting back to the basics Wednesday night.
In a 111-101 victory of the Utah Jazz, Dallas provided insight into how they may play in the Jason Kidd era moving forward.
Luka Dončić led Dallas in scoring with 19 points on 8-10 from the field while playing a total of 16 minutes.
“Luka looked great,” Kidd said. “It’s like he didn’t stop playing this summer. He was 8-10. I guess you can say it was a quiet night.”
Backing him was an impressive performance from Boban Marjanovic, who scored 14 points and hit a pair of threes in the second half. Kristaps Porzingis, only playing 16 minutes, scored seven points on 2-6 from the field and 1-4 from the three-point line.
“He’s a basketball player,” Kidd said of Porzingis. “We don’t want to limit him.”
What was a tightly contested game through the first and halfway into the second quickly changed once Dončić found his offensive rhythm. With that spark, Dallas propelled out to a 10-point lead, and the team never looked back.
Let’s look at Wednesday’s key observations:
1.) Dallas’ undrafted rookies played well in their first professional action. Carlik Jones scored 13 points off the bench, Feron Hunt scored six points by way of impressive dunks in the second half, and Eugene Omoruyi scored three points and grabbed six rebounds.
“I love the completion,” Jones said. “I just look at it as just having fun. Sometimes I don’t even think about it because I am just enjoying it, but the level of competition has been pretty high.”
Each provided an interesting wrinkle to what the Mavericks were aiming to do both offensively and defensively. There was clearly no fear. And it seemed as though the players had the freedom to learn on the fly, making subtle mistakes in the process. That’s just part of development. And with Kidd, the Mavericks appear eager to invest in their youth.
2.) Trey Burke was a DNP – coach’s decision. However, after the game, Kidd didn’t attribute it to anything but Burke playing the emergency player role. His vaccination status wasn’t mentioned as a reason.
3.) Marjanovic’s 3-point shot may go down in infamy. After the game, he said it is something he “practiced.” And he said after both went in the shots “felt good.”
“I just try to extend my game,” Marjanovic said.
4.) One concerning aspect of Wednesday’s game was the number of open corner threes the Mavericks gave up in the first half.
There are some aspects to the game Dallas hasn’t perfected as a team. Those elements will come in time. However, the Mavericks need to figure out how to limit corner threes soon rather than later if they aim to have a better defense than last season.
What is important to keep in mind is that this season isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Night one wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t as ugly as it could have been.
Dallas is in action again Friday night against the Clippers at 7:30 p.m. Kidd said to expect a different lineup, which means different looks both on offense and defense. The preseason may not mean anything, but still, 1-0 has a nice ring to it.
Related Mavericks reading:
Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.