After defeating the Clippers by 51 points last weekend, the thought was maybe the Mavericks have found their groove, but in their home opener against the Hornets(2-2) on Wednesday night, the team took a step back, and their inability to make shots in the third quarter may have been the reason.
The Mavericks(1-3) were down by 11 points at the break, and In the third quarter, Dallas went cold. They shot 4-24 from the field, including 1-16 from three-point range. The Mavericks were outscored by 18 points in the quarter and trailed by 29 points entering the fourth quarter. Ultimately, Dallas would fall to the Hornets 118-99.
Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball had a career-high 22 points, and Miles Bridges had a double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavericks with 18 points.
“Ugly night,” Mavericks head Rick Carlisle said after the game. “There’s not a whole lot else to say. We really were dominated for three quarters. The fourth quarter — I love the way we fought in the fourth quarter, but obviously, it was too late. Disappointing loss.”
Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who was 4-10 from the field and was held to 12 points, got up some extra shots up after the game. According to Doncic, his legs are not where they need to be at this point of the season, which might be true when you consider he is 2-21 from three-point range.
“I just think my legs are really tired, but it’s not an excuse,” Doncic said. “I don’t think it’s the problem. The problem was shooting today. Defensively, they made a bunch of shots. They didn’t feel us early in the game. We missed a lot of open shots early in the game.”
Carlisle added: “It’s clear Luka doesn’t have his rhythm yet. Everybody is working through something at this point in time. The thing that we can’t work through is the idea or the fact that, in this league this year, you’ve got to step on the floor playing with full force all of the time, or you’re going to get your ass beat.”
Because of the truncated offseason and a very limited preseason, Doncic believes that we will continue to see many strange things in the early part of the season.
“I said it before the preseason, these games are going to be weird,” he said. “You’ve never seen two teams lose by 50. I think it’s still a lot of people trying to get in their rhythm. Normal, it’d still be in preseason, Right?”
Dallas has to beat a team like Charlotte at home, but to Doncic’s point, you might continue to see some interesting results in the early part of the 2020-21 season. But eventually, Doncic and Dallas must find a rhythm if they want to get back on track.