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

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 130-110 at home on Friday night. Luka Doncic led Dallas with 33 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Dame Lilliard led the Blazers to defeat.

Dallas started the game quite sluggishly and couldn’t get any stops while Luka missed his first couple of tries at the other end. The team seemed a little disinterested, but Tim Hardaway Jr. came out firing and kept the Mavericks afloat until they could find their offensive footing. A step-back three from Luka with 1.5 seconds left at halftime made the 32-31, Portland after one.

In the second quarter, Christian Wood and Doncic took turns attacking Portland’s 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 dropping out for a breather, Doncic returned and rattled off 11 points himself. Portland managed to close the gap a bit, thanks in large part to a save by Damian Lillard to the free-throw line, but a good finish to the quarter sent the Mavericks 72-63 into the dressing room.

The Mavericks came out with guns blazing in the third quarter, playing their best basketball in a long time and extending the lead to as much as 28 points. Quite simply, it was her most impressive quarter of the season. They completely dominated the Trail Blazers and everyone who played contributed to that. In those 12 minutes, basketball was as much fun as it was in 2022-2023. The Mavericks racked up 110 (!!!) points in three frames and led 110-85 into the fourth.

Trash time came early in the fourth as Portland never used its starters again and the guys at the back of the bench got in before half the period was over. JaVale McGee, the Cigar of Human Victory, appeared and the Mavs drove to a 20-point win. The starters rallied a bit in the fourth, which is huge as they play 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 in .498/.413/.762 shooting splits in his career against the Trail Blazers. He averages more points against Portland than any other non-Clippers team in the league. We know Luka gets up for big games and big matchups, and something about facing Damian Lillard brings out the absolute best in him. Doncic was masterful tonight, putting on an easygoing 33/6/9 with great shooting in three quarters and controlling the pace of play all night.

This Mavericks team needs Luka to set the tone to be successful and he did that tonight. Hopefully the fourth quarter break will help him stay fresh and ready to do it again tomorrow against Cleveland.

The Mavericks are a different team when threes fall

It’s been said ad nauseam, but this Mavericks team is a completely different beast on both sides of the floor when they’re taking shots. It sounds simple and obvious, but their defensive efforts and energy are just so much more pronounced when guys are knocking over threes. Tonight they shot 41.9 percent on 43 tries and were particularly hot in the third quarter. Not surprisingly, they held Portland to 22 points in the third half and just 47 points in the second half. Everything fell into place and it would be nice to see this kind of effort more often.

Christian Wood had his best game as Maverick

Maxi glue fails for a long time. As a result, the Mavericks have no choice but to lean into a more offensive mindset at the big man position and let Christian Wood cook. Tonight we saw what that looks like when Wood is at the top of his game. He was absolutely sensational against Portland, putting up a monster double-double with 32 points and 12 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting.

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

Wood is a polarizing player and definitely not a perfect fit for this squad, but he’s incredibly gifted offensively and it’s fun to see him fire off all guns.

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