3 things: Dallas Mavericks crush Portland Trail Blazers, 130-110

the dallas mavericks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers at home Friday night by a score of 130-110. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 33 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Dame Lilliard led the Blazers in loss.

Dallas started the game looking pretty sluggish, unable to parry, while Luka missed his first few downs on the other end. The team seemed a little disinterested, but Tim Hardaway Jr. sprang out and kept the Mavericks afloat until they could find their offensive base. A step back three from Luka with 1.5 seconds left in the period made it 32-31, Portland after one.

The second quarter featured Christian Wood and Doncic taking turns attacking the Portland defense. Wood scored 15 points in the frame, showing every facet of his offensive game and helping the Mavs build a double-digit lead. After stepping out for a breather, Doncic returned and rattled off 11 points of his own. Portland was able to close the gap a bit, thanks in large part to a Damian Lillard parade to the free throw line, but a strong close of the fourth allowed the Mavericks to take a 72-63 lead going into the locker room.

The Mavericks stormed out in the third quarter, playing their best basketball in a long time and extending the lead to 28 points. It was simply his most impressive fourth of the season. They completely dominated the Trail Blazers and everyone who played contributed to that. During these 12 minutes, basketball was just as much fun as it has been in 2022-2023. The Mavericks racked up 110(!!!) points in three frames and led 110-85 heading into the fourth.

Trash hour came early in the fourth, as Portland never fielded their starters again and the end-of-the-bench guys arrived before the half-period was up. JaVale McGee, the cigar of human victory, appeared, and the Mavs clinched a 20-point victory. The starters got some rest in the fourth, which is huge since they’re playing Cleveland again tomorrow night.

It was a fun night of basketball, and here’s what stood out:

Luka Doncic loves playing against Portland

Doncic came into tonight’s game averaging 30.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists on .498/.413/.762 career split shooting against the Trail Blazers. He averages more points against Portland than any non-Clippers team in the league. We know Luka prepares for big games and big matchups, and something about going up against Damian Lillard brings out the best in him. Doncic was masterful tonight, hitting a casual 33/6/9 with excellent shooting in three quarters and controlling the pace of the game throughout the night.

This Mavericks team needs Luka to set the tone to succeed and he did tonight. Hopefully taking the fourth quarter bye helps keep him fresh and ready to do it again against Cleveland tomorrow.

Mavericks are a different team when all three go down

It’s been said ad nauseam, but this Mavericks team is a whole different animal on both sides of the court when it comes to shooting. It sounds simple and obvious, but his defensive effort and energy are much more pronounced when guys are knocking down 3s. Tonight, they shot 41.9 percent on 43 attempts and were especially hot in the third quarter. Not surprisingly, they held Portland to 22 points in the third and just 47 in the second half. Everything was working and it would be nice to see this kind of effort more often.

Christian Wood had his best game as a Maverick

Maxi Kleber will be out for an extended period of time. As a result, the Mavericks have no choice but to lean more offensively at the big man position and let Christian Wood do the cooking. Tonight, we saw what that looks like when Wood is on top of his game. He was absolutely sensational against Portland, posting a monster double-double with 32 points and 12 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting.

He took over in the second quarter and gave the Mavericks a massive lead they would never look back from, and he executed a brilliant two-man game in the third quarter alongside Luka Doncic. He did bad things to Jusuf Nurkic and the Blazers just didn’t have an answer for him.

Wood is a polarizing player, and he definitely doesn’t fit perfectly on this list, but he has incredible offensive talent and is fun to watch when he’s firing on all cylinders.

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