The Mavericks were able to beat the Pelicans 118-97 to finish off a 3-0 road trip. Luka Doncic had another big game with 33 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists in only 28 minutes. However, the bench was also a major key in the team’s eighth win in the last ten games.
The Mavericks Pull Away From the Pelicans
The Bench Unit
It was a huge night for the Dallas bench, going for 53 points, compared to the 28 points that New Orleans got from their bench.
Everyone that stepped in did their job.
Seth Curry came in and scored 19 points on 5/7 from three, and Maxi Kleber scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in 21 minutes. Those two were both able to space the floor and Kleber was a factor defensively.
Delon Wright also came in and did a little bit of everything, much like his performance Sunday. He finished this one with five points, five assists, and four rebounds.
However, the player that really gave the team a spark was J.J. Barea. He, of course, hasn’t played all that much this season, but Rick Carlisle inserted him into the lineup in the second quarter when the team needed a spark, and boy did he provide one.
On the night Barea scored eight points and dished out six assists. He provided a clear calm on the floor and was able to penetrate the defense, but he also went 2/3 from three.
Modified Load Management
Dallas is playing Minnesota in a back-to-back on Wednesday, but they did a great job in this one taking care of business.
Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Tim Hardaway Jr. all didn’t have to play in the fourth quarter. Porzingis struggled on the offensive end but had five blocks, but because of foul trouble, he only played 17:34.
The general thought has been that he will not play one of the games on back-to-backs. However, with him playing such limited minutes in this one, it makes it much easier to play both games during a back-to-back.
Hardaway Jr. only had to play 25:28, which is ideal for a starter in this scheduling situation. And then the star Doncic only played 28:29.
Any time Dallas gets a chance to have all three of these players sit out the fourth quarter, it’s an ideal situation.
It’s the best way of doing load management. Your best players are playing, but not playing too many minutes.
The Mavericks have remained the top team in the league in offensive rating. However, this team is making big strides defensively.
A big reason for the improved defense has been Porzingis getting his feet under him. People always talk about his offensive prowess, and when he’s clicking he’s a special offensive player. But when he’s at his best he is also a great rim protector, as evidenced by his five-block performance in this game in not even 18 full minutes.
With the build of this roster, Dallas will likely never be a top-ten defensive team in the league, as they are built more for offense, which has worked out, but if they can get into the top half of the league with this offense, Dallas has a chance to be a really dangerous team in a loaded Western Conference.
The Mavericks Take Care of the Pelicans: Overall Thoughts
This was a game the Mavericks should’ve won comfortably, but with it being the last game on a road-trip and following up a big win over the Lakers in the Staples Center, you just never know.
Things started slow offensively, but the defense kept them in the game. Eventually, the offense got things going, and Brandon Ingram was the only Pelican to really do any damage. Outside of him, Dallas did a great job, especially chasing the Pelicans off the three-point line.
Next up will be a quick turnaround in the second game of a back-to-back against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This game will be back in Dallas to start three-straight games at home.
It will technically be a five-game homestand, with this game against Minnesota, a back-to-back against these Pelicans and then the Kings before playing the Pistons in Mexico City, in a game that is technically a “home game.” Following that game they host the Miami Heat, to open up a pretty difficult stretch in their schedule.
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