Mavs’ Kidd on win over Heat: ‘I thought they played for 48 minutes’

Over the last three games, the Dallas Mavericks had no issues scoring(121.3 ppg), but they were not stopping teams from scoring(135.3 ppg), and because of their poor play on defense, the Mavs have lost three straight.

On Friday, they were hoping to get back to playing big-time defense, and on Friday night, they did that.

Dallas(25-22) led the visiting Miami Heat(25-22) pretty much from start to finish as they defeated the Heat 115-90.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd, who was visibly upset about the team’s defensive performance in their loss to the Hawks on Wednesday night, liked the effort the team played with on Friday night.

“I thought they played for 48 minutes,” Kidd said. “I thought even the group that was in at the end played with energy and effort. I think there was clarity of what we’ve asked them to do in this game plan, and they responded. It wasn’t me calling them out or saying we had a walk-through or shoot-around during the game against Atlanta. You could see they were flying around. Now we’ve got to hold them to that standard.”

After the three quarters, the Mavs held the Heat to 67 points on 44% shooting from the field, including 3/15 from three-point range, and Dallas took a 25-point lead into the fourth.

Without Christian Wood(fractured thumb), Dallas went with a smaller lineup, which was effective for the Mavs on both ends of the court. Reggie Bullock, who had 15 points on 5-6 shooting from three-point range, said the work on the defensive end was a collective effort.

“It was just a team effort,” Bullock said. “Obviously, [the lineup] was a lot smaller tonight; people were flying around, giving multiple efforts, trying to take away 3s from them. But it was just the effort that guys put in, the five that Coach [Jason Kidd] put out there.”

Notes:

-Luka Doncic had a game-high 34 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Doncic is averaging a league-best 33.7 points per game, slightly ahead of Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (33.6 ppg).

-Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 19 points, third rebounds, and two assists. Over his last four games, Dinwiddie is averaging 23.0 points and 5.8 assists per game.

Warriors’ Kerr on Game 3: ‘Loon(Looney) was just brilliant, again’

The goal for the Dallas Mavericks was to steal one of the first two games on the road against the Warriors in their Western Conference finals matchup.

The Mavericks were routed in Game 1 but looked like a much different team in Game 2. The Mavericks got an 18-point first quarter from Luka Doncic, who ended the game with 42 points, and they also got 31 points from Jalen Brunson. 

The Mavs led by as many as 19 points and had a 72-58 lead at the half, but the “others” stepped up for the Warriors. 

Kevon Looney scored 11 of his career-high 21 points in the third and 12 rebounds, Jordan Poole added 12 of his 23 points in the fourth, and their star, Steph Curry, added 10 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth as the Warriors defeated the Mavs 126-117 at Chase Center.

The Warriors now lead the series 2-0 as the series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Sunday night.

After the game, Kerr gave the credit to Looney, Curry, Moses Moody, Otto Porter, and Poole.

“Loon(Looney) was just brilliant, again,” Kerr said. “He’s had a fantastic playoff run. He’s incredibly underrated by everybody. You know, he switches onto guards, and he rebounds, he sets screens, and in a series like this, it’s so spread out, he’s able to score some buckets in the paint as well. I thought Loon was just brilliant.

“I thought a lot of guys came in and really played well. Obviously, Steph got going. Jordan Poole’s second half was fantastic. Otto played a great game, and Moses Moody came in and gave us huge minutes in that fourth quarter. Great team effort, but it was really all about getting things under control and getting more poised out there.”

Looney became the first Warriors center to score 20-plus points and grab 10-plus rebounds in a playoff game in over 40 years.

“Playing center for the Warriors, it’s a different type of job from other teams,” Looney said. “A lot of the scoring and stuff, we don’t really need us to do. It’s a lot of screen setting and a lot of playmaking and doing different things. For me, to have a game like that is cool. Something I’ll always remember. But it’s a lot of work to do still. I’ll definitely enjoy tonight. I’m going to remember that stat, so I can tell somebody else about it.”

Doncic, who came into Game 2 battling a shoulder injury and an illness, says Mavs have to move on.

“We were up 20 or 19, so it’s a tough situation,” Doncic said. “We can’t look back. What happened happened, so we’ve got to move on.”

In the second round, the Mavs were down 0-2 against the Suns and ultimately won in 7. According to Reggie Bullock, who added 21 points, the Mavs have to what they did against the Suns, and that’s sweeping the next two games in Dallas.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Bullock said. “We were just in it last series. Going back home, we’ve got some of the best fans in the world. They’re going to be there to support us. They’re going to give us a lot of energy. We have to go out there with a great mindset to pull away two at home and be back here in San Fran to be able to compete for Game 5.”

We’ll see if the Mavs can pull off another remarkable comeback in this series. It’s possible, but the Warriors seem like a different animal. This series is not over, and it should be interesting to see what Dallas offers in Games 3 and 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mavs’ Doncic in Game 3 win: ‘I knew I had to do better’

In the first two games of their Western Conference second-round series against the Phoenix Suns, the Dallas Mavericks were all about Luka Doncic and no one else. 

Coming into Game 3, Doncic was averaging 40 points per contest in this series, but Dallas needed others to come to the party.

Doncic got his in Game 3 with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists, but Jalen Brunson recorded a game-high 28 points; Reggie Bullock added 15 points, Dorian Finney-Smith chipped in with 14 points, and Maxi Kleber collected 14 points off the bench as the Mavs defeated the Suns 103-94 at American Airlines Center.

With the win, Dallas snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Suns. The Mavericks still trail in the series 2-1, with an opportunity to even the series on Sunday.

“I thought it was a great team win,” Kidd said. “(Jalen Brunson), Spencer [Dinwiddie], Maxi [Kleber], Luka [Dončić], Reggie [Bullock], (Dorian Finney-Smith) – everyone joined the party, they helped out on both ends. And then Luka was great defensively; he participated, too. It puts us in a different position when that happens.”

Doncic had 24 points in the first half in Game 2 but scored only 11 in the second half, and Dallas allowed Phoenix to score 40 points in the fourth on 84% shooting from the field. In Game 3, Doncic felt he needed to be better on both ends of the court. 

“I wouldn’t say motivation, but I knew I had to do better,” Doncic said. “I knew I could do better; I think that I have made a big jump on defense this year, and the second half was more by me, and I knew I had to get back to my team and play better defense.”

Dallas held Phoenix to 45% shooting from the field, marking the first game of the postseason (of nine outings) that Phoenix has been held to less than 50% from the field. In addition, the Mavs forced 17 turnovers, which led to 22 points.

On his 37th birthday, they forced seven Chris Paul turnovers.

“Happy birthday (Chris Paul),” Kidd said. “I think when you look at it, we were active. Our hands were active; we got deflections that led to steals. We came out aggressive. There was carryover from Game 2 in those first three quarters, and we played 48 minutes tonight. It’s a great win, but now this game is over. It’s a quick turnaround here for Sunday.”

Paul felt the turnovers were the difference in the game.

“If I don’t turn the ball over like that, I feel like it’s a different game, so give them a lot of credit,” Paul said.” They came out and did what they were supposed to do. We’ll be back on Sunday.”

Suns head coach Monty Williams did not like how the team’s offense flowed in Game 3.

“I’m sure there was a bit more pressure on the ball or hands in lanes to get the flex and that kind of thing,” he said. “I didn’t feel like we had a rhythm tonight on offense, to be straight with you all. You saw flashes, but we just didn’t have the same kind of offensive connection that we had in Phoenix. Some of that is to be expected when you are playing against a team, and you are up two games, you know they are going to come out and hit you in the mouth. I thought we could have settled down a little bit more on offense, especially when we have the ball jumping around the gym the way we did from a turnover perspective.”

This was a great effort from the Mavs on both ends, especially on defense. Playing big-time defense and getting big efforts from Doncic and others is why Dallas was successful this season. They have to use that same formula to win Game 4 and this series.

Notes:

-All five of the starters for Phoenix scored in double figures. Jae Crowder led the way with 19 points (5-8 3FG), seven rebounds, and five assists.