The Dallas Mavericks (0-1) began their 2022-23 NBA regular season with a 107-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns (1-0) on Wednesday..
It was a strong start for the Mavs, with Luka Doncic setting the tone early with his short-range game. They established a 42-26 lead with 8:07 remaining in the second quarter. They maintained a double-figure advantage entering halftime as they led 62-45 at halftime.
At halftime. Doncic already had racked up 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 18 minutes. Meanwhile, Spencer Dinwiddie (13) and Christian Wood (nine) combined for an addition 22 points, too. It was an intriguing look into how the Mavs can execute when largely playing to their potential.
Free throw shooting was an early shortcoming for the Mavs as they were 12-20 (60.0 percent) in the opening half. Oddly enough, those results were achieved despite Doncic having made all seven of his attempts. Regardless, the overall results on offense were staggering. Dallas shot 21-42 (50.0 percent) from the floor and 8-17 (47.1 percent) from 3-point range.
There was a comeback push in the second half from the Suns. Phoenix outscored the Mavs 27-15 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 77-72 entering the final period. As the Suns chipped away at the Mavs’ lead, free throw shooting was a significant factor in the result. Dallas kept missing while Phoenix kept converting.
What was on display from the Mavs was a clear indication that when things are clicking, they have key pressure relief valves around Doncic. He can give it up to Wood on the short-roll if the defense hedges the ball screen. Wood can also punish the defense for switching in ways that Kristaps Porzingis proved unable. In addition, he’s a key focal point when Doncic isn’t playing.
While Brunson is no longer on the team, Tim Hardaway Jr. can bring a dynamic off-the-catch option to pair with Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock on the wing. Dinwiddie looked far more comfortable in his role after a rough preseason.
MCGEE’S BACK- JaVale McGee was back in Phoenix on Wednesday, but he had switched sides from the Suns to the Mavericks.
The 7-foot McGee started for the Mavericks, finishing with three points and four rebounds in 14 minutes. He was a vital part of the Suns’ bench last season, averaging 9.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
SARIC, TOO- Suns forward Dario Saric played in his first game since suffering a torn ACL in the first half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals in 2021. He missed all of last season. Saric — who checked in early in the second quarter to loud cheers — averaged 8.7 points per game during the 2020-21 season.
Mavericks: F Davis Bertans (right knee) and G Frank Ntilikina (right ankle) weren’t available to play. G Facundo Campazzo was on the inactive list.
Suns: G Landry Shamet (left hip strain) and F Jae Crowder (not with team) weren’t available to play. Crowder and the Suns mutally agreed that the forward would stay away from the team while the front office looked for a trade. … C Deandre Ayton played just seven minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.
Mavericks: Host Memphis on Saturday night.
Suns: At Portland on Friday night.
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