Dallas, TX — With Monday night’s win over the Chicago Bulls (0-3), the Dallas Mavericks are over .500 (2-1), for the first time since the 2015-2016 season.
Monday night’s hard fought match-up produced some sensational highlights. Zach LaVine was a man on a mission as he erupted for 34 of the Bulls’ 109 points. The Chicago guard worked the three-point arc all night and finished 5-for-7. LaVine wasn’t the only one hitting from deep for his team though. Justin Holiday connected on four triples during the night en route to 16 points.
Even though the quick tempo of the game benefitted the Bulls, as well as its pressure perimeter defense, Chicago struggled with taking care of the ball (19 turnover on the night) and protecting the rim.
One player specifically the Bulls could not stop was DeAndre Jordan. He became Dallas’ go-to man and pulled pressure away from the outside defense. Chicago had no answer for him as Jordan finished with a double-double of 18-points, 16 rebounds. Often throughout the game, “DJ” chants ripped through the American Airlines Center as Jordan put away a couple dunks and snagged numerous rebounds.
“He’s just sensational,” stated the Mavericks Head Coach Carlisle on the level of play by Jordan. “He’s giving us a major presence on the inside. You add the personality and the attitude that he brings to the game, on a night like tonight, you don’t win without it.”
Jordan has pulled down a double-double in the first three games of the regular season for the Mavericks. But, after the game, Jordan didn’t focus on his level of play, yet on the defense of his teammate.
Chicago continued to launch long-range shots despite the havoc Jordan and the rest of the Mavericks caused in the paint. By the end of the game, Dallas had scored 46 points compared to its opponents 36 down low.
Dallas once again relied on its rookie point guard to help Jordan carry the scoring load. Besides a few late game mistakes, Luca Doncic held his own as he chipped in 19 points. Wesley Matthews knocked in four three-pointers during the game and finished as Dallas’ leading scorer with 20-points.
As the fourth quarter came to a close, the back and forth play came to a stop. For Matthews he emphasized defense being a key in the Mavericks closing out the game.
“[…] the stops in the second half, and play the way we were talking about all season long. Our offense is never really an issue for us. A lot of guys can score and can make things easier for other people. It’s always going to come down to our defense.”
The Mavericks will take their momentum on the road to face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. Chicago, still seeking its first victory, will face Charlotte, also on Wednesday.
As Matthews pointed out, the team will still need to rely on its defense in order to close out games and continue to create ball movement. Dallas is expected to play its fourth game without Devin Harris, Dirk Nowitzki, and Harrison Barnes.