40 Greatest Moments in Dallas Mavericks History #31-40: The Start of Luka Magic

The 2019-2020 NBA season marks the Dallas Mavericks’ 40th anniversary as an NBA team. This is the franchise’s 40th season, and man, have there been some great moments throughout those years!

We’re counting down the 40 greatest moments in Dallas Mavericks history. It wasn’t easy picking only 40. Any team that has had all-time great players like Dirk NowitzkiSteve NashJason KiddMichael FinleyMark Aguirre, and Rolando Blackman, just to name a few, is bound to have a library full of amazing moments.

Nevertheless, we’ve found the absolute greatest. Within this list, you’ll hear comments and first-hand accounts from some of your favorite Dallas Mavericks bloggers and podcasters.

We’ve broken this list into four segments, starting with numbers 31-40.

Greatest Moments in Dallas Mavericks Franchise History – #31-40

40. Luka Dončić Averages a 30-Point Triple-Double for an Entire Month (November 2019)

Yes, Luka Magic is already on this list. Luka Dončić is doing things that all-time great players did. In just his second season, Luka is already averaging nearly a triple-double, breaking legendary records, and is in the MVP conversation.

In November 2019, Luka averaged a 30-point triple-double. He averaged 32.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. Only two other players have ever done that – Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.

Luka had some notable games during this run, including a 35-point triple-double in 25 minutes against the Golden State Warriors (the fastest 30-point triple-double in NBA history) and a 42-point triple-double against the San Antonio Spurs, making him the second-youngest player to record a 40-point triple-double.

39. Dallas Mavericks Start the 2002-2003 Season with 14-0 Record

The 2003 NBA season was full of highs for the Mavericks. The team started 14-0, one win shy of tying the NBA record for the best start to a season. The Mavs finished that season with a record of 60-22. It was one of three seasons in Mavericks history where the team won 60 or more games. Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash made their second straight All-Star appearance. Even more exciting, the team made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in the Dirk Era.

This team was full of legendary Mavs and fan favorites: Dirk, Nash, and Finley (a.k.a. Dirty, Nashty, Filthy), Nick Van ExelRaef LaFrentz, and Eddie Najera.

38. Dallas Mavericks Hire Rick Carlisle as Head Coach in 2008

Every great team has a great coach. Rick Carlisle has coached some of the greatest teams in franchise history and was the mastermind behind the Mavericks’ Championship in 2011.

Under Rick Carlisle, the Dallas Mavericks have 7 Playoff appearances, a Conference Finals Championship, and an NBA Championship. It’s hard to imagine the Mavs having as much success without Carlisle as they have had with him. His defensive mentality and cutting-edge “flow” offense have been keys to the Mavericks’ winning ways.

37. Dallas Mavericks Win 7-Game Series Against the Sacramento Kings in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals

After a 14-0 start to the season, the Dallas Mavericks had big goals in mind. But they were still considered a young, unproven team. In the Western Conference Semifinals, they faced the veteran Sacramento Kings.

Mavericks fans were ready for something big. And this series delivered. 83 points in one half. Clutch shots from Nick Van Exel and Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs’ Game 7 victory over the Kings was a turning point in the franchise.

The Mavericks had arrived.

And they were gonna be here for a while.

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36. Dirk Nowitzki Grabs 10,000 Rebounds

Did you know that Dirk is the only player in NBA history with at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 1,000 blocks, and 1,000 3-pointers?

Dirk always had a reputation for being a “soft” Euro, but he proved time and time again how ridiculous that label was.

Only 39 other players in NBA history have grabbed 10,000 rebounds or more. Dirk finished his career with 11,489 total rebounds, putting him at 26th all time.

35. Dallas Mavericks Win 17 Straight Games in the 2006-2007 Season, Setting the Record for the 7th Longest Winning Streak in NBA History

The Dallas Mavericks came out of the gate swinging in the 2006-2007 season. Embittered from the 2006 NBA Finals, the Mavs ran through opponents. Their 17-game winning streak was proof of their power.

  • Average margin of victory during the streak: over 13 points
  • Number of 15+-point blowouts: 9
  • Number of 20+-point blowouts: 6, including a 36-point blowout of the Lakers

We won’t talk about how this streak ended or who ended it. The point is, Dirk Nowitzki was the MVP that season and this was a special moment for the franchise.

(This is now the 16th longest winning streak in NBA histo

34. Dirk Nowitzki Sets the Record for Most Consecutive Free Throws Made in an NBA Playoff Game in the 2011 Western Conference Finals

This is the first time a moment from the 2011 Playoffs appears on this list. (It won’t be the last.)

Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dirk proved his dominance. The Thunder’s core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka were no match for Dirk.

In Game 1 of the series, Dirk Nowitzki made 24 consecutive free throws, setting the record. He also made 12 of his 15 field goals. That means he missed only 3 of the 39 shots he took.

Dirk was unstoppable. The Thunder had no answer. And the team was on its way to history.

33. Avery Johnson Wins Coach of the Year Award in 2006

Avery Johnson had one of the best starts to a coaching career you could ask for. After taking over as Head Coach in March 2005, Johnson won the Coach of the Month award in his first two months on the job – the first ever to do so. He was the fastest coach to win 50 games and was the Head Coach of the Western Conference team at the 2006 NBA All-Star game.

The Dallas Mavericks won 60 games in the 2005-2006 season. Not bad for your first season as a Head Coach.

32. Dirk Nowitzki Scores 29 Points in the Fourth Quarter Against the Utah Jazz in 2009

Imagine a game where you only score 52 points in the first three quarters and shoot 32% from the floor. And the opponent goes on a 22-6 run to end the third quarter. And you’re down by 13 in the fourth quarter.

It would take a miracle to win, right?

Or a brilliant fourth quarter from Dirk Nowitzki, who made seven of his eight shots and all 14 of his free throws and set the franchise record for most points in a fourth quarter.

With Dirk, you felt like anything was possible. And sometimes, even the impossible happened.

31. Dallas Mavericks Trade for Luka Dončić in the 2018 NBA Draft

Luka Dončić has the potential to be an all-time great. If someone came from the future and said Luka was a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, you wouldn’t be surprised.

But he hasn’t done it yet.

Trading for Luka Dončić could go down as a top 10 moment in franchise history. His Rookie of the Year season was stunning. He’s already breaking records as a 20-year-old – records that were previously owned by guys like Magic JohnsonLeBron JamesMichael Jordan, and Oscar Robertson. And the Mavericks’ winning record is proof that he’s a special player.

How exactly did the Dallas Mavericks pull this off? Mike Fisher from Sports Illustrated and DallasBasketball.com shared his insights with


“Someday, maybe the world will have a better grasp of the influence of Donnie [Nelson] (and Tony Ronzone) in the acquisition of Luka Doncic, which I believe was very much about a pre-planned comfort level forged long ago that would end up leading him here.”

Yes, Dallas Mavericks’ GM and President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson deserves a lot of credit for what he did to get Luka. It was a move that was literally years in the making.

Nick Angstadt from Locked On Mavericks explained why this move was such a huge moment for the organization.


“Getting Luka confirmed that the Mavs’ rebuild was taking a real step forward. Dirk Nowitzki was like a Greek god who couldn’t be put to rest until his work was done. Luka has allowed Dirk to move on and know that his franchise has been left in a better place than how he found it. Plus, transitioning between eras is not an easy thing to do. It took the Bucks 40 years to replace Kareem with an MVP level Giannis. The Mavericks found a way to overlap their eras as soon as they traded up to draft Luka Doncic.”

Where will Luka’s career take him? Where will he lead the Mavericks?

The answer could be beyond our wildest dreams.

Those were some great moments, right? And we’re just getting started. Stay tuned for more of the greatest moments in Dallas Mavericks history.

Everything You Need to Know About Dorian Finney-Smith

he Dallas Mavericks signed Dorian Finney-Smith to a 3-year, $12 million contract in the summer of 2019. It’s clear the Mavs’ front office and Head Coach Rick Carlisle see something in Dorian.

Despite going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Mavericks have kept him around, worked to develop his skills, and made him a regular part of the rotation.


Well, that’s what I’m wondering. There are other Mavericks fans who call for more Dorian Finney-Smith. And Rick Carlisle clearly has no hesitancy in playing him.

I concede.

I’m no basketball genius. There has to be a good reason why the Mavericks keep Dorian around. They must see something in him.

I set out to find out what.

What Do the Mavs See In Dorian Finney-Smith?

In this Article
  1. What Do the Mavs See In Dorian Finney-Smith?
  2. Defense
    1. Defensive Analytics
    2. Physical Tools
    3. Defensive Video Highlights
  3. Offense
    1. Offensive Analytics
    2. Offensive Video Lowlights
  4. Dorian Finney-Smith’s Potential

We’re going to break this down into two parts: Defense and Offense. We’ll look at advanced analytics since I’m sure the Mavericks take those into consideration. We’ll also look at game film.



I started here because it’s what Finney-Smith is best known for. After all, Rick Carlisle recently called him ‘one of the best 3-and-D guys in the league’.

Defensive Analytics

I pulled data from the 2018-2019 season. This year’s sample size is too small and the years before that the Mavericks were awful. I wanted to give him the best chance to shine.

The advanced analytics paint a clear picture:

Dorian Finney-Smith is a very good defender.

There. I said it.

His Defensive Rating in the 2019 season was 108.7. That means the team allows 108.7 points per 100 possessions with him on the court.

How does that stack up among other NBA players?

Here’s a list of other players who had a similar Defensive Rating that season:

Ben Simmons: 108.9
Clint Capela: 108.7
Patrick Beverley: 108.7
Klay Thompson: 108.5
Jimmy Butler: 108.3

Players above him include Danny Green at 104.3, and, of course, Giannis Antetokounmpo at 101.8.

Finney-Smith is also a good one-on-one defender. Opponents’ field goal percentage dropped 2.4 percent when he guarded them.

That’s on the same level as these well-known defenders:

Anthony Davis: -2.3%
Serge Ibaka: -2.4%
Klay Thompson: -2.5%
Joel Embiid: -3.1% 

Again, he’s no Giannis, whose Differential Percentage was -6.5, but no one is saying Dorian is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

At least I hope not.

“Dorian Finney-Smith is a very good defender. There. I said it.”

The analytics say he’s a great rebounder, too.

While on the court, he grabbed 9.2% of the total available rebounds. How does that stack up against other players his size?

Here are other players that are 6’7 or taller whose Total Rebound Percentage was in the same range:

Kevin Durant: 8.8%
Khris Middleton: 8.8%
Jaren Jackson Jr.: 9%
Otto Porter: 9.2%

Finney-Smith is even more impressive when you focus on offensive rebounds. He grabbed 6.4% of those available rebounds. That’s in the same range as Giannis Antetokounmpo, who grabbed 6% of available offensive rebounds, and Ben Simmons who grabbed 6.2%.

Defense and rebounding is a lot about effort and hustle. But it’s also about having the right physical tools, which Dorian has.

Physical Tools

It’s no wonder the Mavericks were intrigued by Dorian Finney-Smith, even as an undrafted prospect. He has all the physical tools to be a great defender.

Dorian Finney-Smith has a 6’11.75 wingspan and a 35.5” vertical.

He can reach up nearly 9 feet just by standing and raising his arms.

Here are his pre-draft measurements compared to three elite defenders that are the same height as Dorian.

Dorian Finney-Smith’s Pre-Draft Measurements

Player (Pre-Draft)Wingspan (ft./in.)Hand Length (in.)Hand Width (in.)Standing Reach (ft./in.)Lane Agility (sec.)Standing Vertical Leap (in.)Max Vertical Leap (in.)
Dorian Finney-Smith6’11.7599.758’9.511.0132.535.5
Kawhi Leonard7’39.7511.258’1011.4525.532
Klay Thompson6’98.759.258’7.510.9926.531.5
Jimmy Butler6’7.5998’5.511.123239
Danny Green6’10N/AN/A8’711.302933

Here are some notable points:

  • Dorian Finney-Smith has an incredible wingspan at almost 7 feet.
  • His hands are the same size as or larger than other great defenders’. Kawhi Leonard’s giant hands are less than an inch longer.
  • Dorian is quick and athletic. He had a faster Lane Agility time than Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Danny Green; he has a higher standing reach than all four guys on this list, and has a higher max vertical than all four accept Jimmy Butler.

It wouldn’t have been crazy for the Mavericks to see Dorian as a Kawhi Leonard/Jimmy Butler hybrid on defense.

Physically, he has the tools and talent to be that.

Ok, so in a vacuum, that all sounds great. Let’s look at the film to see what Dorian does on the court that helps his team.

Defensive Video Highlights

You’ll see in these video clips that Dorian uses his length effectively on defense.

He starts off guarding Mike Scott, but switches to Ben Simmons. When Justin Jackson gets (hilariously) juked by JJ Redick, Finney-Smith uses his long arms to effect the pass just enough to where Redick loses his handle and has to readjust his grip, which ultimately leads to a turnover.

Here is another example of good help defense.

Finney-Smith is guarding Monte Morris. Morris swings the ball to a teammate on the perimeter, who drives on Luka Doncic. Luka is pretty much beat, but Finney-Smith is able reach in and get a hand on the ball.

You normally don’t want to help off one pass away. But Dorian is so long, that even after helping off Morris, he’s still just a half-step away from contesting a shot, if needed.

Let’s take a look at one more example.

Dorian is expecting a pick from Joakim Noah and starts preparing for that. Avery Bradley sees this and cuts to the basket. Dorian is behind his man and not in a favorable position.

But again, his long arms mean the play isn’t lost. He can quickly reach back and deflect the pass, forcing a turnover.

These plays show the value of Dorian’s length, quickness, and agility. Those are three key qualities of good defenders.

What about Dorian’s rebounding?

The numbers are great, but I noticed something while watching the film.

Many of his offensive rebounds come because his defender isn’t paying attention to him, probably because he’s not a threat offensively. Often, he’s not boxed out.

Is that a problem? I don’t know. If it leads to rebounds, who cares?

If he becomes a threat on the perimeter, will the extra attention mean his defender actually boxes him out?

I would venture to say that his defensive rebounds are not very impressive either. Since he often guards perimeter players, his man usually sprints down the court after a missed shot – either for the fast break or to set up on defense. Finney-Smith hangs back and gets a rebound because he’s the only one who hasn’t been boxed out.

This is equivalent to thinking Russell Westbrook is an amazing rebounder because he gets so many, and then watching games and realizing that everyone is just conceding to him and letting him get the rebound. Different cause. Same effect.

“If he becomes a threat on the perimeter, will the extra attention mean his defender actually boxes him out?”

Now, it’s not like all of Dorian’s rebounds come from those two situations. And again, does it matter? If his job is to get rebounds, I’d say ‘Mission accomplished’.

I’ll leave that one up to Rick Carlisle.


This is where I’ve always had a problem with Finney-Smith. I thought he hurt the team on offense.

But I set out to prove myself wrong and figure out what the Mavericks see in him.

Offensive Analytics

Rick Carlisle is clearly grooming Dorian to be a 3-and-D player. I stated at the outset that Carlisle himself has declared that role for Finney-Smith.

So let’s look at Dorian’s 3-point shooting.

In the 2018-2019 season, Dorian Finney-Smith made 31.1% of his 3-point attempts.

That’s pretty low.

Dorian Finney-Smith’s shot chart for the 2018-2019 season (That’s a lot of red X’s on the perimeter.)

dorian finney-smith's shot chart 2018-2019 season

He made 35.2% of his 3-point attempts from the right corner and 27.5% of his attempts from the left corner.

(The corner three is supposed to be the easier 3-pointer.)

The gold standard here would be a player like Klay Thompson, who made 52.3% of his right corner 3-pointers, or JJ Redick, who made 57.1% of his left corner 3-pointers.

I’m not saying Dorian should be there. Those guys are all-time great shooters. But he should be somewhere close to that. Heck, even Gerald Green made almost 45% of his left corner 3-pointers and he’s always been an “ok” shooter from deep.

Even when left wide open, meaning there isn’t a defender within six feet, Dorian made only 34.2% of his 3-point attempts.

“As good as Dorian is on defense, he’s worse on offense. If he’s an 8 on defense, he’s a -10 on offense.”

And if you’re wondering, nearly 40% of the 3-pointers Dorian shot were wide open. And he still only shot 31.1% overall.

This is a problem because nearly 50% of the shots Dorian takes are 3-pointers. And we know the Maverics have put an emphasis on getting more looks from 3-point range.

Because he struggles to contribute offensively, his Net Rating is negative. That’s despite his stellar defense and rebounding.

Dorian Finney-Smith’s Net Rating in the 2019 season was -1.9. That puts him in the same range as Wesley Matthews and Jeff Green, the latter of which you might have forgotten was still playing basketball.

As good as Dorian is on defense, he’s worse on offense. If he’s an 8 on defense, he’s a -10 on offense.

Let’s take a closer look at the film to see why.

Offensive Video Lowlights

We already talked about Dorian’s poor shooting. There’s no need to see film on that. After all, nearly 40% of those shots are wide open.

But it goes beyond that.

If Dorian is doing anything other than catching the ball and immediately shooting, it’s a problem.

First, Dorian should have immediately swung the ball to Jalen Brunson at the top of the arc. When he opted to not do that, the next obvious choice would be to pass it to Tim Hardaway, Jr. in the corner. He could have at least dumped the ball to Dwight Powell in the lane.

The multitude of options highlights Finney-Smith’s lack of any sort of play-making or decision-making ability.

Here’s another example of a bad decision.

A simple pump-fake would have sufficed. This play was dead the minute he dribbled.

And one more for good measure.

Basically, Dorian should never be the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll. (Well, he shouldn’t be a ball-handler at all, which by itself is limiting.)

Look at it this way:

  • If Dorian catches and immediately shoots the ball, he’ll make the shot less than 33% of the time.
  • If the defender closes out and Dorian has to dribble and make a decision, he’ll probably turn it over.
  • But even if he’s wide open, he’s only going to make the shot 34% of the time.

You can see now why he’s a negative on offense, can’t you?

Dorian Finney-Smith’s Potential

So, I was right…sort of.

Although my now humbled basketball mind could not see Dorian’s impact on defense, the analytics show that it’s huge. And he has all the physical tools to be a great defender.

But his terrible 3-point shooting and decision-making negate anything he does on defense.

So, I ask again, What do the Mavericks see in Dorian Finney-Smith?

Here’s a theory.

The Mavs must know that Dorian is not currently one of the best 3-and-D guys in the league, despite what Rick Carlisle says.

But they’re hoping he can become that.

He’s already a great defender. All they’re asking him to do is get better at shooting threes.

It’s just one thing.

He doesn’t need to break ankles or shoot fadeaways. Just catch the ball, shoot it, and make it around 35-40 percent of the time.

When you look at it that way, I understand the Mavs’ decision to keep Dorian around. They gave him a team-friendly deal. It’s low risk, high reward.

And Carlisle continues to give him minutes because he is such a great defender. Honestly, it probably says more about his belief in Luka and Kristaps as offensive players. If they can dominate offensively the way we all believe they can, Dorian might not hurt you too much.

Obviously, the Mavericks would rather have Danny Green.

That didn’t happen.

Could Dorian Finney-Smith become Danny Green? Is that what the Mavericks see in him?

To the latter, probably. To the former….I’m still skeptical. But, hey, it’s worth a shot, right?


The Best NBA Podcasts

Podcasts are on the rise lately and there are some awesome NBA podcasts to listen to. Being podcasters ourselves, we listen to several NBA shows regularly. It seemed fitting, then, to share a list of our favorite NBA podcasts.

This is not a complete list, by any means. Some of the shows that we listen to didn’t make the top five. But five seemed like a good starting place.

These shows will keep you up to speed on what’s going on around the league.

If you’re looking for a Dallas Mavericks podcast, subscribe to our pod Dallas Hoops Fancast!

UPDATE: We added a bonus podcast to this list!

Five NBA Podcasts to Stay In the Know

The Woj Pod

Everyone knows Adrian Wojnarowski from Twitter. His “Woj Bombs” are what NBA fans live for during trade season and free agency.

Bottom line, the dude has connections.

Those connections get him some awesome guests. The 2019 guest list included Stephen Curry, Mike D’Antoni, David Griffin, Doc Rivers, Jeff Van Gundy, and Daryl Morey.

And Woj is a great interviewer.

He gets into the culture of the NBA. He talks to front office executives about the mindset behind decisions, and the player relationships fans can’t see. You’ll hear about the realness of what it means to be a player, a coach, a GM, or an owner.

Listen to this podcast to get a mature, well-rounded understanding of the NBA.

Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective

Brian Windhorst himself is a great resource for NBA news and insights. The Hoop Collective adds another layer of analysis from different reporters.

The group podcast includes ESPN Insiders with varying perspectives and insider sources. The discussion is informing and fun to listen to – not an easy feat. Listen to this podcast to hear a complete picture of current news stories and their impact on the league.

The Full 48

The Full 48 is, well, actually longer than a 48-minute podcast. But the 1-hour runtime is well worth it.

Like The Woj Pod, Howard Beck’s podcast hosts influential guests from the NBA. He interviews current and former players, NBA insiders, and team executives. Each guest gives a look inside the league and talks about what’s behind the headlines that fans see. Imagine asking the guys who made the NBA schedule why there aren’t fewer back-to-backs. Or what if you could ask Kareem Abdul-Jabber what his favorite All-Star game moment is?

Those are the kinds of conversations you get to listen in on during The Full 48, like a fly on the wall.

Listen to this podcast for deep discussions on NBA headlines with people us mere mortals can only dream of getting in a room with.

The Old Man and the Three

It’s not every day you get an inside look at the NBA from a player’s perspective.

JJ Redick’s podcast is an opportunity to see things through the eyes of a guy that’s in it.

Redick is a thoughtful person and that shows in each episode. He and his guests – usually other NBA players – go deep into culture, mindset, process, and life.

Listen to this podcast to see the real side of the NBA and what being an NBA player is like. What is it like to be traded? What is like to get up at 5 am every morning to work on your game? How does the noise from the outside world affect players?

Each episode is an intriguing study.

The Lowe Post

The description for this podcast is, “ESPN’s Zach Lowe talks to various basketball people about various basketball things.” It sounds vague and unpredictable, and it totally is.

There’s no real discernable schedule for this show or theme to most of the discussions. Zach just gets some awesome guests on and has a conversation about whatever is happening in the NBA.

It’s a great show for a general “state of the NBA” update. You’ll hear insider opinions from writers, players, and other media types.

Listen to this podcast to stay up-to-date with what’s going on, get a wider view of teams. You’ll be entertained along the way.

Bonus Podcast!

No Dunks

These guys have been in the NBA podcast game for a while, and they’re back with a new show. After starring in the NBA TV show The Starters for several years, J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Leigh Ellis, and Trey Kerby are back to podcasts.

No Dunks picks up right where the guys left off, with the same easy conversation, intelligent analysis, and fun times. Their chemistry makes this a fun show to listen to, but they also share real insights into the game. It’s the best of both worlds.

Listen to their daily show in The Athletic’s app or in the other streaming apps listed above.

Subscribe to these podcasts and be an informed fan. If you’re a Dallas Mavericks fan, subscribe to our podcast Dallas Hoops Fancast and read the Dallas Hoops Cast blog for fresh media about the Mavs.

Dallas Hoops Fancast Ep 5: Live Reaction to Luka Doncic Winning Rookie of the Year

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Dallas Hoops Fancast – Season 2, Episode 5

Hear our live reactions to Luka Doncic winning Rookie of the Year and why it was an obvious choice. We also get into the Al Horford to Dallas rumors and debate whether or not the Mavericks should even bother meeting with Kawhi Leonard.

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