The Mavs’ wound grows

The Mavs' wound grows

Nick Nurse, the excellent Toronto Raptors coach, said before the game that he and his staff they always have “a good menu” of defensive options to stop (or the closest thing to stop: at least, minimize) to Luka Doncic. And the case is that the Slovenian has stayed in 15 total shots, his minimum of the course, twice: in the two games against the Raptors. Nurse didn’t actually use a multi-page, multi-scent menu. Instead, she tormented the Mavs with an entrée that served them to intoxication. Double markings (and even triples) to Doncic as soon as he crossed the center of the track. And an excellent defender, with tremendous physique, like OG Anunoby at the center of a job that basically consisted of using various players to get Doncic to release the ball and then prevent it from returning to him with the main player (Anunoby…) glued to him like a second skin.

It worked because of the muscle and discipline of the Raptors … and because, today, that plan is ultra effective against some Mavs that are not shooting well and that Jalen Brunson is sorely missed in the secondary gaming generation. The point guard, now in the Knicks, put the ball on the ground and punished the rival’s excesses of attention on Doncic. Now, no one seems capable of doing that beyond a Spencer Dinwiddie who isn’t a playmaker so pure and that was also loaded with faults, after a great start, in a match that seemed propitious but was torture for the Mavericks: 105-100 for some Raptors who played without their main star, Pascal Siakam, and without the last Rookie of the Year, the excellent Scottie Barnes. Also without Achiuwa and Porter Jr. But

Losing against rivals diminished by crucial losses a priori has become one of the most vaunted issues of this first stretch of the season of some Mavs that are not going well: now it is 9-9, in 50% of victories. They have lost three games in a row and four of the last five. At home they are 1-6one of the four worst balance sheets in the NBA before playing, tonight and in back to backin Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo Territory, one of the most difficult games that can be played in the NBA right now. Doncic finished with those 15 shots, very little for him, because that was nurse’s recipe: make the rest of the Mavs win the game. And they couldn’t, again. Little aim (28% in triples) and little efficiency to squeeze the good passes from a Doncic who tried non-stop to take advantage of the attraction he caused in the rival defense. Jason Kidd, who said that there is no “panic” but that there is a lack of “consistency”, remarked that 25 of the 39 triples that his team launched (11/39) were in situations or totally free or very favorable. Also, no rhythm in fast transition (it’s the team of pace slowest in the NBA) and a bleed on the rebound: 48-34, 17-4 offensively, the key to a 25-5 second-chance point run for the Raptors that (if 16 losses of his rival are added) they threw 15 more times. Outstanding in math.

Doncic stayed at 24 points, 10 below his average, and the Mavs did not exceed 100 despite an excellent start: 7-22 in seven minutes in which the Raptors piled up six losses. But the entire central stretch of the game was clearly favorable to the Canadian team, which had cold blood with free kicks and more defensive strength in the final minutes, when a miss from the corner by Reggie Bullock (at 97-96) sent the game into limbo. last great option of the Texans. Doncic also grabbed 7 rebounds and he distributed 9 assists that could have been many more if his teammates had known how to play the superiorities that he served on a tray. As soon as Dinwiddie charged himself with fouls (minutes for Campazzo in the third quarter), the traffic jam was complete. Despite rumors of changes in the quintet, Kidd did not play anything. Doncic played more than 43 minutes (I insist, with the Bucks knife waiting sharp today) and Christian Wood continued on the bench and did not go over 23 (10 points, 6 rebounds, -13 on court). In this current format, the Mavs aren’t much. Worse than a year ago in defense, in outside shooting percentage and in an ability to survive without his megastar which is now low. The doncicsystem It seems the only solution, less and less the obvious consequence of having such an extraordinary player and more harmful dependency on the type of squad that has been set up.

The Raptors, for their part, are going at a good pace (10-9) if the injury problems they are having are assumed. Fred VanVleet returned and had 26 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. But the big star was Anunoby, who minimized Doncic (as much as possible, at least) and had extra strength to score 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, especially when the Mavs really pushed. The casualties of forwards They also allowed Juancho Hernangómez to have a very good night, making the most of his opportunity: starter, more than 30 minutes, 10 points and 5 rebounds with a couple of important triples. Good game from the Spaniard… and from Chris Boucher, key from the bench (22+13, 5 attacking captures). The Raptors were more equipment based on simply exploiting what are now very visible shortcomings of the Mavericks. Headwind in Dallas.


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