Mavs – 111 Pistons – 105
The Mavericks improved to 14-2 (.875) during the annual Seats for Soldiers Game.
Dallas improved to 17-3 this season when finishing the game with a better FG% than their opponent. The Mavericks also improved to 5-1 in Monday games, and will play on Monday each of the next two weeks (at UTA, vs. MIN).
Luka Dončić finished today’s game with 53 points (17-24 FG, 5-11 3FG, 14-18 FT), 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Dončić took sole possession of the Mavericks franchise record for the most points in a regulation-length game with tonight’s performance (prev. 51, held by Dončić 2x and Dirk Nowitzki). Dončić now has four games this season with 50+ points, which leads the NBA (four players tied with two games), and the Mavericks are 4-0 this season when he goes for 50+ points. Dončić joined Kobe Bryant, James Harden (3x) and Michael Jordan as the only players to post four games with 50+ points over the last 50 years.
Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists tonight. Dinwiddie is averaging 23.3 points (.469 FG%, .411 3FG%) per game over his last 10 games (since 1/12).
Bojan Bogdanović led Detroit with 29 points on 10-15 shooting from the field. He has scored 20+ in each of his last 10 games, which is the longest streak of his career and tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the NBA.
(On the Mavericks’ third quarter run…)
“I think our defense started to pick up. When you look at Luka [Dončić] in the first half, you couldn’t ask for a better quarter offensively for someone. Then I think defensively, we started to get stops and then again with the double teams, we know we’ve seen it all season, where to be, and I thought we started to execute there in the third. From the middle of the third on, I think we started to play defense like we did on the road trip.”
(On why other players got going later in the game…)
“Luka [Dončić] was going. The first half was pretty productive. I think he only had 10 shots, 27 points. When you look at what he was doing offensively, just being able to keep us in the game. He’s been very unselfish with the double teams. Reggie [Bullock] made some big shots for us tonight, Josh [Green] was good too on double team [scenarios]. The rhythm of those shots we just have to be consistent with, because we want to see that all year. Once we started to knock those down, our defense picked up. And then I think just in early transition, being able to attack before the double team came.”
(On Luka Dončić’s return to the lineup after missing the last two games with an ankle injury…)
“I think we were connected. I think sometimes when someone comes back you tend to wait. Spencer [Dinwiddie], after the last two games, was playing at a high level. I thought he was letting Luka dictate everything instead of just playing the game he was playing the last two [games]. Luka’s going to join the party, he’s too talented not to, the ball is going to find him. I thought at halftime, we talked about Reggie [Bullock] looking to shoot the ball and Spencer [Dinwiddie] looking to be aggressive. Act as if Luka is not out there, and I thought he started to do that there in the start of the third quarter. Even though he missed a couple of layups, it was just him being aggressive and the ball touching the paint, which helps everybody.”
(On the health of his ankle…)
“It’s good. It’s not 100%, but it’s good. I did some good work.”
(On his scoring early in the game to carry the team…)
“I really think, in the first especially, we had pretty good looks. They just didn’t go in. Sometimes they double, sometimes they didn’t. But I think we had really great looks.”
(On the recent play of Spencer Dinwiddie…)
“I mean he’s an amazing player. He needs to stay aggressive and play his game and get going. He’s an amazing player.”
(On his hot shooting start from 3-point range…)
“Somebody told me I was 12-13 from two. So probably I should have taken more 2’s than 3’s. But I think that’s efficient three shooting for me too.”
(On the Pistons assistant coach talking at him from bench…)
“Since the first quarter he was chirping. You know I will chirp back. I don’t know. From the first quarter he was chirping. I don’t want to say the words. I have no problem with that. It’s basketball. It gets me going for sure. I don’t have no problem with that.”
(Do you enjoy the trash talk…)
“Yeah. I do sometimes. It was their assistant coach. He started chirping in the first quarter. So, they didn’t like when I chirped back. They said to me ‘play basketball.’ If they’re going to chirp at me, I’m going to chirp back. I ain’t scared.”
(On getting his own shots, while also keeping his teammates involved…)
“I mean sometimes you just have to accept the coverage. When they’re doubling. Sometimes they will come double. And sometimes before they go, just attack and attack the paint every time.”
(On if it was a particularly frustrating loss…)
“It was because I thought our competitive spirit was there. Again, learning how to close out the game. With three minutes to go, we had an 11-point lead. Some needless fouls, offensive fouls, but I loved our competitive spirit. Again, learning how to keep everything in check and execute on both ends of the floor, whether it’s rotations, box-outs, and no matter what happened—we thought it was a shot clock violation, you still have to play, we thought Bojan got fouled, you still have to play—in all those situations, and close out the game because we put ourselves in a situation to win.”
(On their defense against Luka Dončić, despite him scoring 53…)
“It could have been better. We put him on the free throw line, what 18 times? That’s a lot. We have to do a better job of getting our hands back. There were some certain things we were trying to do, and he’s such a good player that he’s going to figure it out sooner or later. We’re not the first and we won’t be the last. But, again, what we can do is make sure we have rotations, two guys outside of him, and make sure they make plays or make tough shots. He did a good job tonight of not only scoring but making sure we scrambled out of our traps. He’s tough. He gets you inside with his body, scores, gets to the free throw line, if not he steps back and shoots a three. If you don’t have the right personnel, the right body on him, you have to play the way we did tonight. I thought we did as good of a job as you can do to make somebody else try to beat you.”
(On if it was a particularly frustrating loss due to how much talking was going on…)
“Yeah, I think we played as hard as we could. We have to make better decisions, starting with me down the stretch. It definitely hurt, and I felt like we should have won this one.”
(On how they tried to do to make things more difficult for Luka Dončić…)
“We tried to get it out of his hands early. He got it going in the first half, first quarter. When somebody gets a rhythm it’s kind of tough to shut it off, but we obviously have to do a better job. We tried to get it out of his hands, but he made good plays down the stretch. Playing hard is all we can really ask for.”
(On if this game epitomized a “make-or-miss league,” along with the development Killian Hayes has shown…)
“Yeah, it was a bloodbath. It was punches being thrown back and forth every possession. His confidence and the confidence we have in him is unmatched, so like you said the shots that he had were wide open, great shots—even the ones off the dribble—we’ll live with those any day of the week.”
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