10 takeaways from Warriors' rout of the Mavericks
The Warriors were short-handed against the Mavericks. So how exactly did Golden State manage to cruise past Luka Doncic and Dallas?
The Mavericks had no centers available Thursday for the Warriors. As you might expect, the game quickly became a rout: There was no need to play Steph Curry or Draymond Green in the fourth.
Because Golden State rolled, 147-116.
Health and injury issues limited the tallest starter for the Warriors to 6-foot-7. Figuratively, though, the tallest was Kelly Oubre, who had perhaps his best game as a pro (a career-high 40 points) and proceeded to keep the Mavericks toiling in what’s shaping up, so far, as a miserable season for Dallas.
Here are 10 takeaways …
Kelly Oubre finds 40
Kelly Oubre’s career night boosted the Warriors output.
Remember early in the season when Oubre missed 28 of his first 30 shots from deep? It wasn’t exactly a great initial impression for the swingman, who arrived from the Phoenix Suns with hopes of minimizing the loss of Klay Thompson. Well, he just had quite the moment, with a 40-piece and an unconscious display from deep, shooting 7-for-10. Let’s be frank: One game, as solid as it was, doesn’t make a season, and Oubre still has a hill to climb — he was averaging just 12 points and shooting 38% prior to Dallas. He probably won’t hit 40 again and might struggle for 30. Still, the Warriors will need a smattering of impact games from Oubre to rattle the cage in the West.
Kristaps Porzingis, flinging ’em from 3
He stands 7-foot-4. On this day, roughly 7 inches taller than the tallest defender on the floor, and … his first five shots were 3-pointers. Half of his total shots were 3s. Go figure. It was a weird strategy by Porzingis and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, especially given the Warriors were shorthanded. This was simply taking analytics a bit too far. Or maybe Porzingis just doesn’t have any post-up DNA in his body. For those who cringe at the sight of someone this tall spending so much time far away from the basket — essentially, you forfeit all that height when you do — this made you want to turn off the TV.
Draymond Green, filling stat sheets
He’s having a sub-par season, no matter how many folks want to scream “But he does things that don’t end up in the box score!” Well, maybe Green should do more of what does end up in the box score, especially for a team that needs production. Much like Oubre, Green had a night that he needed to have. His passing was on point, finding teammates cutting to the hoop or over by the corner for 3-pointers.
Draymond Green’s 15 assists helped catalyze the Warriors’ offense.
This was Green of four seasons ago, when the offense ran through him, he made sharp decisions and added some defensive stops. Green entered averaging 4.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.6 assists. He managed 15 assists (and 11 points) against only one turnover Thursday … in just three quarters.
The missing Mavericks’ offense
Last year, the Mavericks set an NBA record for offensive efficiency, plenty more positive than what they’re managing this season. If you’re looking for reasons why the Mavericks record ranks among the more disappointing developments of 2020-21, you can arrive at their last-in-the-NBA 3-point percentage. They began the game shooting 18-for-36. Then they only made two of their next 14. That’s why, by early in the fourth quarter, the game was a rout.
Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic met, a matchup of what appears to be the starting backcourt for the West in the All-Star Game based on the first All-Star voting returns. It’s easy to see why: both are having solid seasons and rate highly among fan approval. Those who watch Damian Lillard closely might disagree, but not too strongly. Once Curry returned healthy this season, someone was going to suffer in terms of All-Stardom, and it looks like Lillard’s fate is in the hands of the coaches.
Mavs backpedal from expectations
If you’re keeping score at home in Dallas, that’s seven losses in the last eight games. And, yes, it’s all so confusing for a team that played well in the Orlando bubble last fall and came into this season with solid expectations. Doncic is having a good season — only his 3-point percentage has left much to be desired — but nobody else is playing at or above their respective level.
Josh Richardson (six points vs. Warriors), for one, hasn’t been the help that Dallas expected after he arrived from Philly. And the 9-14 Mavericks are next-to-last in the NBA in rebounding. The only team worse than Dallas from this time last year is Miami. Luka’s body language is getting worst by the day — and night. And he didn’t meet the media afterward.
Hardaway Jr. decision looming
The Mavericks obviously need a third wheel — assuming Porzingis is actually a No. 2 — yet there’s no one on the current roster who fills that role. This isn’t a slight to Hardaway, who’s a valued member of the rotation, mainly for his distance shooting. Still, Hardaway’s contract is up after this season and it’s easy to conclude the Mavericks will use that money elsewhere. There will be pressure to stockpile better talent if only to keep Doncic from pouting — or entertaining any thoughts of delaying his signature on a contract extension.
Wiseman ceding ground in rookie race
The TNT audience was deprived of getting another glimpse of James Wiseman, the intriguing young big man who’s off to a pretty decent start, but sat with a sprained left wrist. And while it’s too early to make a firm judgment on the race, where does Wiseman stand so far regarding the Kia Rookie of the Year award? Probably right where he was drafted: Second. Now that he’s starting for the Hornets and his minutes are rising, LaMelo Ball is getting more chances to throw no-look passes and inflate his stats. If this continues, there won’t be much suspense about the award, with all due respect to Wiseman.
Carlisle’s cushion collapsing?
If the Mavericks crash and burn this season, could any of this fall on Carlisle? He’s one of the better coaches in the NBA, and has a championship … but as we’ve seen constantly, anything can happen in pro sports. Mavs owner Mark Cuban seems to be patient and obviously respects Carlisle. The next few months, and Luka’s mood, will dictate where this is going.
As if he didn’t do enough damage to the Mavericks with his shooting, Oubre stayed in the game long enough to play with the garbage-time crew, among them Boban Marjanovich, the lovable Mavs reserve center. That provided Oubre the opportunity to deliver a block that awakened social media, swatting Boban right near the rim, obviously was a trophy block for someone who gives away 10 inches in height.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 5, 2021
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