On one particular night, as the franchise was set to honor Dirk Nowitzki after the game by giving up his number 41 shirt, the Mavericks released a statement against the Golden State Warriors.
And they don’t do it with their offensive behavior, but with their defense instead.
They have held off the best Warriors in the league, averaging 111.3 points per game, to just 82 points, their lowest score of the season.
Part of the offensive struggle for the visitors was Stephen Curry’s second night in a row. After scoring just nine points (3-17 FG; 1-10 3P) against the Heat on Monday, the two-time former league MVP scored just 14 points Wednesday night on 5/24 shots from the field, including consists of 1 out of 9 words outside the arc.
While this looks like a one-off game for the Mavericks defence. However, that’s not the case.
The Warriors were kept to just 39 points in the first half, their second-lowest scoring rate in half the season.
Mavericks is leading the tournament (3 times – BOS, MEM) when holding the opponent under 40 points in the opening half. pic.twitter.com/p4FCEca9ov
– Mavs PR (@MavsPR) January 6, 2022
This is Dallas’ fifth straight game to limit their opponents to less than 100 points, and third consecutive draw against opponents under the age of 90.
At the end of Wednesday night games, Mavericks defensive ranking tied for sixth best in the league and ratings preferably through this first paragraph in January.
Some credit for the team’s improvement at that bottom of that tier can and should go to new head coach Jason Kidd, especially considering how the team has performed defensively over the past few seasons.
|Turn off. Review (Ranking)||Def. Review (Ranking)|
|2021-22||109.0 (17th)||107.3 (6th tie)|
|2020-21||114.6 (8th place)||112.3 (21st)|
|2019-20||115.9 (first place)||111,2 (18th)|
This level of defense is not some form the Mavericks have found recently.
The split indicates that Dallas has shown this defensive intensity from the start of this season, improving each month towards that end of the floor – October (103.7, 11th), November (111.7, 25), December. (108.1, 5th) and January (90.5, day 1).
The challenge for the Mavericks going forward will be to maintain this level of defense with Luka Doncic on the floor. In their best defensive month (December), the Slovenian youngster sat out 11 of their 15 games while in November – their worst defensive month of the season, he played 10 of their 13 games.
With him on the floor, Their defensive rating is 109.2 meanwhile, without him, it spiked to 104.1. Now, their last two wins (Denver, Golden State), which have been great defensive efforts, have Doncic in the lineup.
Mavericks hopes that this small sample size is a sign of things to come.