GAMEDAY Recap Grizzles @ Mavericks 10-22-2022
Luka looking to make a statement.
The Dallas Mavericks (0-1) look to set things right with their home court opener after letting a win get away Wednesday against the Suns. Ja Morant and the young Memphis Grizzles (2-0) come into town as a potential Western Conference Finals matchup for the Mavs.
Heading into Saturday's matchup Maverick All-Star PG Luka Doncic was quoted as saying his team "relaxed" against the Phoenix Suns when the Suns hosted Luka and company Wednesday. After going up as much as 22 points Devin Booker and Damion Lee stole a victory late in the game when Lee hit an impossible baseline fadeaway. The first 3 quarters were in no question dominated by the Mavs, which in my observation has been a running theme with this team. whether it has be Luka's stamina coming into question or the fact he hasn't had another All-Star teammate, finishing teams has been one of their weaknesses. If this team wants to be a true title contender they need to start forming championship habits. Will they begin that trend tonight? Let's find out.
Luka goes nuclear
The Dallas Mavericks took the court in their new "Statement" jerseys (featured). Reminiscent of the OKC navy blue thunder jerseys from some years back. I wouldn't call them the most original jerseys in the league but they are definitely one of the better looks the Mavs have. I am not a huge fan of their current closet.
Luka and crew came out the way they did in the first half against the Suns. The games pace was to Doncic liking , a half jog up the court as Luka scans the floor for mismatches or sagging defenders. Wether it's entering a pick and roll with one of his wings or sitting down in the high post on a smaller defender while he looks over the defense to skip a fastball to one of his teammates for a three. Luka was in CONTROL.
Memphis on the other hand came out a bit sluggish. That is expected considering the Grizzlies are coming off a win against a scrappy Houston Rocket team lead by Jalen Green. Memphis was lead by last years Most Improved Player Ja Morant who is widely considered one of the leagues most entertaining players. With shades of young Derrick Rose and Allen Iverson's swagger Ja dropped 49 on the Rockets.
The Grizzlies are still without their 3 and D breakout player Dillon Brooks who is out for his second consecutive game due to a thigh injury. Morant and backcourt mate Desmond Bane will continue to have to provide the heavy lifting in the scoring department. Bane has started this year very cold from beyond the arc with 23% shooting from the field. Unfortunately for the Grizz that trend continued in the first half.
Luka would come out guns blazing with 21 points in the first 8 mins, with a slew of step back 3s and blowing by defenders for easy layups. (view here). Christian Wood who was vocal about not finishing the game in Phoenix saying he still needs to build "trust" with his new team to be a closer came in early in the first half and continued his highly efficient play. The Mavs would lead after the first quarter 39-17.
The second quarter saw more of the same from the Mavs now with its second unit leader Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie who was considered "insurance" when the Mavericks former Point Guard Jalen Brunson was poached away by the New York Knicks. Spencer got into foul trouble in the third against the suns which hurt the Mavs in that second half debacle. Luka was quoted as saying that Dinwiddie "organizes things" with his presence.
Midway through the second quarter Luka came back into the game with his team leading by 21. He would waste no time and hit another 3 in the face on Grizzlies big Steven Adams who moonlights as DC's Aquaman. On the other end of the ball you can tell Doncic is really making a effort early this year to play good defense. Highlighted by Luka trapping a Memphis player in the corner forcing a turnover, followed by Doncic chasing his assignment around screens ultimately forcing Adams to commit a offensive foul.
Ja Morant would bang knees on a drive at the 4:48 mark where he hit the ground and in one motion banged out some pushups to let everyone in the gym know he was ok.
The Mavericks would take a 64-36 lead into the second half.
(image courtesy of @Mavs)
Mavs dominate, run away with game.
I will keep this one short and sweet because to be honest with you this game was never really competitive. Besides Desmond Bane opening up the second half with a 3 nothing went the Grizzlies way. Journey man JaVale Mcgee had his second block of the night which lead into a easy Maverick transition layup. Mcgee credits his vegan lifestyle for allowing him to play at a very high level late into his career. Mcgee who has been a vegan since 2015 and won a ring with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers is another key pickup for the Mavs.
Luka & Christian Wood were turnt up after their lob connection!#PhantomCam | #KiaTipOff22 https://t.co/QBoNr45Z0S pic.twitter.com/PP2sjcsjPG— NBA (@NBA) October 23, 2022
It was clear the scouting report on Ja Morant was to double him once he crossed mid court not allowing any of his signature drives and forcing his teammates rather to play make. It worked out tonight in favor of the Mavericks , Morant finished with 20pts on 6 of 12 shooting and 3 turnovers on the night. Well below what we expect in terms of impact on a game for Ja. Only one other Memphis player had more than 12pts tonight and that was Desmond Bane with 4 of 11 shooting on the night. The Mavericks defense was impressive.
Luka would close out the third with seemingly everything going his way. Even one of his misses on the glass becoming a "assist" ally-oop to Dorian Finney-Smith. (View here)
The Mavericks would close the Quarter with a Doncic drive and kick where Tim Hardaway JR. hit a 3pointer at the buzzer and that was pretty much all she wrote. The fourth quarter consisted of both teams emptying the bench and playing garbage time. This was a impressive win for the Mavs who should be 2-0 on the season but I liked what I saw tonight from them. This was probably a aberration for Memphis who definitely will play better, although I am not as high on them as most "experts" I do not think they recreate the same success as they had last season.
- Luka is my preseason MVP and tonight he looked like just that.
- Christian Wood is the biggest steal of the off season. This guy can really play and seems to be coachable. Sixth man of the year canidate.
- The Mavericks need to continue to mature and close teams out the way they did tonight.
- Desmon Bane really likes to shoot the ball. I don't necessarily think the confidence is a good thing for the Grizz long term.
- Off game for Ja and the Grizzles nothing to worry about on a second of a back to back.
Quick hitters. The 76ers go 0-3 on the season. Giannis drops godly numbers in a bucks win.
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