After a strong win over the LA Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks’ bubble (see what I did there?) was burst on Sunday evening. They lost their second scrimmage game to the Indiana Pacers, 118-111.
These are just scrimmage games, so much of it doesn’t matter – the record, the minutes, the second half. But there are still some things you can take away from each game.
Here are three questions I have after the Dallas Mavericks’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon.
What are thooose?!
Luka Doncic debuted a new Air Jordan 34 PE on Sunday afternoon. The lime green shoes are simple but flashy. They’re not available to us mortal humans, but I can admire them from a distance.
?NEW PE?In this afternoons scrimmage against the @Pacers, the Wonderboy brought out a NEW Jordan 34 low PE. You can see the LD7 logo on the tongue of the left shoe. This colorway has not been seen yet league wide. ?Garrett Ellwood, Jim Poorten pic.twitter.com/udizu39yzg— Luka Donkicks (@LukaDonkicks) July 26, 2020
Luka has a record of covetable shoes. Now that he’s an official Jordan athlete, we’ll start seeing even more custom player exclusives.
As soon as Luka gets a signature shoe, which will only happen once he reaches milestones like MVP or Finals MVP, you better believe I’ll be one of the first in line to pick up a pair.
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How far can the Mavericks go with this defense?
Ok, onto some actual basketball analysis.
The 2019-2020 Dallas Mavericks have never been known for defense, despite having Kristaps Porzingis guarding the paint. If you read my Mavericks season restart primer, you already know this.
The Mavs were 17th in Defensive Rating before the hiatus, according to NBA Stats. The 22-43 Chicago Bulls had a better Defensive Rating.
Against the Indiana Pacers, the Mavericks gave up 118 points and allowed the Pacers to shoot almost 50% from the floor. Eight Pacers shot 50% or better. In the regular season, the Pacers averaged 109 points per game, 22nd in the league, and were 17th in offensive rating.
It’s a scrimmage. I know. The point is, the Mavericks have not been good defensively all year.
So how far can they go in the Playoffs with this defense? How far do we, as fans, expect them to go?
Given their age and talent, I would honestly be ok with a first-round exit. They still have a lot of growing to do. Defense is part of that.
Kristaps for MVP?
I might be overblowing Kristaps Porzingis’ value, but let’s not undervalue him either. After a great game from Seth Curry and an “ok” game from Tim Hardaway Jr. against the LA Lakers, both struggled in this game. Curry had 8 points on 3-8 shooting. Hardaway was 2-11 and finished with 7 points.
Part of this was the Pacer’s defense, but not having Kristaps to space the floor definitely makes things harder for guys like Curry and Hardaway – guys that rely on space and driving angles.
Kristaps missed the game because of a protocol violation (he forgot to take his COVID-19 test) and will be back for their next game. We’ll see if Curry and Hardaway can find a solid rhythm with him back on the court.
Overall, I’m not really worried about this team. That’s because I know they’re a young team and their best years are ahead of them. They have have problems with defense and executing in the clutch. But they’re fun to watch and might even steal a series in the Playoffs. It’s exciting to see what they’re building.