3 Dallas Mavericks takeaways beat Toronto Raptors, 111-110

3 Dallas Mavericks takeaways beat Toronto Raptors, 111-110

The Dallas Mavericks (5-3) held off the Toronto Raptors (5-4) at home Friday night, 111-110. Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 35 points, eight rebounds and six assists. OG Anunoby scored 27 losses for the Raptors.

A massive Toronto Raptors roster hosted a revised Dallas Mavericks starting five. Toronto ran early, getting transition baskets and second-chance points. Luka Doncic patiently made his way through the game, driving and kicking to look good. A back-and-forth affair throughout the period, the teams traded baskets throughout. Second-chance points for Toronto kept them in play, while Luka Doncic’s 14 points propelled Dallas. A late steal and faceoff from Josh Green gave Dallas a 31-29 lead after twelve minutes of action.

As Luka Doncic rested steadily to start the second quarter, the Mavericks’ remixed bench unit made an impression. The Mavericks matched the Raptor’s length and energy and chose to pick up the pace with fantastic defense. Christian Wood and JaVale McGee helped Dallas slowly build an eight-point lead midway through the quarter. Three helped the Raptors quickly wipe out that lead, but with Doncic back, the Mavericks extended the lead by three, including two from Spencer Dinwiddie. Dallas held a 62-57 halftime lead.

The second half began with a brutal streak of turnovers for the Raptors, three straight offensive fouls. That, coupled with an active Dallas defense (Luka had three interceptions and a block), put the Mavericks into a 19-point lead halfway through the frame. Toronto wasn’t ready to give up and kept the pressure on Dallas. A Doncic technique, following a poor range call, pulled the Raptors into the 11 with two minutes to go. But a Christian Wood three, a Doncic jumper and a Wood dunk helped give Dallas an authoritative 96-81 lead heading into the fourth.

In a brutal role reversal, the Mavericks started the fourth by turning the ball over several times and most notably by offensive fouls called. The Raptors cut the lead to single digits with nine minutes left before an oop from Christian Wood to Maxi Kleber finally put the Mavericks on the board in the fourth quarter. Doncic returned earlier than usual to try and stem the tide, but the Raptors wouldn’t go easy, even with Pascal Siakam ruled out with a groin injury, cutting the lead to three. A step back from Doncic and a multi-shot possession from Dallas that consumed a ton of clock gave Dallas enough breathing room to hold off Toronto. After a free throw contest and a final second OG Anunoby three, Dallas holds off Toronto 111-110.

Now some thoughts

Trust in the team

Considering how heavy Luka Doncic is with the Mavericks as a team, I could be forgiven for leading again with his stellar offensive game. Instead, the willingness to trust teammates is perhaps the key offensive element why the Mavericks won this searing game.

In the second half of the third quarter, the Raptors were keen to get the ball out of Doncic’s hands, sending traps from multiple angles. Doncic made the right pass out of those traps, which is what we expect. The Mavericks built their massive lead in the third game from pass recipients, like the three Tim Hardaway Jr. in the fourth minute from Maxi Kleber. It’s a simple thing, and we’ve seen plenty of that over the years, but it never gets old, especially against a team as good as the Raptors.

Bench play and react positively to change

Much of the credit is due to JaVale McGee. He came to Dallas to start and said that was a big reason he chose Dallas among the suitors he had to pursue him. So when he was taken off the starting line in that game, it would have been understandable if he hadn’t been focused for his minutes. Instead, his four-minute stint to start the second quarter was huge for a Dallas bench unit that had mixed success.

This bench unit, led by Spencer Dinwiddie and the always energetic Josh Green, played a fantastic run in the quarter. There was plenty of length and activity, with Christian Wood and McGee on the court alongside Dinwiddie, Green and Hardaway. The team’s play allowed Luka Doncic to rest on the bench for a long time and build up an impressive nine-point lead.

Although they stumbled a bit to start the fourth quarter (without McGee), this energetic bench unit has something. Green’s continued case for minutes is also worth watching as he plays both sides of the ball very well.

Survive turnovers, offensive rebounds and second chance points

The Dallas Mavericks largely outplayed the Toronto Raptors for most of this game. Except for a flurry in the fourth quarter where they surged hard, down 15, Dallas really dominated. Toronto’s offensive rebounds and resulting second-chance points really helped them stay in the game; the Raptors attempted 11 more shots.

Being passed by 13 is never good, and that’s something Dallas will have to look into. Many of the rebounds came from transition attempts, which Dallas was not good at defending during my time as a Mavericks writer. That’s something to watch, especially if Dallas stays with Dwight Powell in a starting role.

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