Dallas, TX — Eighteen games into this season, you would think you could pinpoint the real star and threat to preparation to playing against the Dallas Mavericks. Yet, on any given night these past 18 games, the real star has been the bench and its growing confidence against matching any opponent.
Given the number of injuries early on in the season with veterans, the real task has been rotating unlikely players into roles and with three wings, this past win over the Boston Celtics, 113-104, proves that despite adversity, Coach Carlisle’s coaching skills are prevailing on the court.
Specific to tonight’s win over the Boston Celtics, the Mavs rookie Luka Doncic was tightly guarded by Kyrie Irving in the first half. He managed to score 13 points, with nine of those points stemming from three-point attempts. Doncic spent all night pressing the paint and drawing defenders and their fouls.
When put to Irving’s tough coverage early in the second quarter, Doncic took a step back and drained a two-point jumper, sending the crowd into a tizzy.
“He’s a good player. He’s a typical European player, which comes in and has a certain handle and certain savvy,” shared Irving after the game on the play of Doncic. “[He] played above his age. He doesn’t play like a 19 or 20-year-old…”
But, it wasn’t only the rookie getting the job done for Dallas. The Mavs’ veteran forward, Harrison Barnes, played lights out the first half by knocking down five three-point shots. J.J Barea provided a nice surge of energy in Dallas’ offensive tempo by contributing nine points in the first half.
Dallas placed a heavy focus on moving the ball around to overwhelm Boston early on and had 14 assists as compared to Boston’s 12 in the opening two frames. The Mavericks also held the lead at intermission, 59-56.
The Mavs tried to pull away in the third stanza, but the Celtics refused to quit and kept threatening to take the lead. Irving struggled overall offensively, but when Boston needed points, he delivered. By the end of the game, he finished with 19 points to go along with Jayson Tatum’s 21 points to lead the team in scoring.
The Celtics also were able to keep the game close because of Dallas put them on the free-throw line. Finney Smith Jr. had an unnecessary foul after hitting Marcus Smart on a three-point attempt and then later, a technical was called on DeAndre Jordan.
Although the Mavericks gave Boston plenty of chances to take the lead and win the game, Dallas held on to win 113-104. Plenty of players for Dallas came up with big shots and broke through the Celtics’ cumbersome defense.
Barea and Harrison both contributed 20-points in the victory, followed by Wes Matthews and Doncic’s 15 apiece. Jordan finished with a double-double of 14-points, 13 rebounds. Dallas’ bench also outscored Boston’s 40-27.
“… I thought they put us on our heels,” commented Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens on what happened during the game. “They were moving the ball. They were whipping it around. They were running their stuff with great pace.”
After the game, Irving broke down the difficulty the Celtics are dealing with after dropping to 10-10 on the season.
The Mavericks are also sitting at .500 (9-9) on the season. As Dallas’ year continues to progress forward, the team will still have to rely on its bench producing and controlling the pace of the game.
Dallas will face Houston on Wednesday, Nov. 29 for its next game while Boston will look to bounce back against New Orleans on Nov. 26.