There’s a special relationship that will always exist between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks. Back in 2007, when the We Believe Warriors defeated the top-seeded team, Dirk Nowitzki famously made a hole in the wall at Oracle by heaving a trash can in frustration. That wall was cut out and moved to the new Chase Center Arena in San Francisco.
It’s a touchstone for the beginnings of the Warriors dynasty - it was the dismantling of that We Believe team that opened the door for Steph Curry to usher in a new era and that series will always link these two teams.
Well, everything is different. Dirk Nowitzki is retired, and the Mavericks are helmed by young budding stars, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Warriors are barely recognizable right now with only Draymond Green standing as the lone active player that has won a Championship with the Warriors.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (3-12) at Dallas Mavericks (8-5)
WHERE: American Airlines Center; Dallas, TX
WHEN: November 11, 2019; 4:30 pm PST
Blog Buddy: Mavs Moneyball
Red-hot Warriors on a roll
Golden State is on a season-tying best win streak of one game, and hoping to set a new best on the year with a second consecutive victory this evening. Though the Dallas Mavericks sit much higher in the standings than the Warriors, both Eric Paschall and Alec Burks are surprisingly dangerous.
In the 19-point win last night over the Memphic Grizzlies, Pachall battled through early foul trouble but delivered eight critical points in the closing 4th quarter to seal the most dominant win of the season. Though he didn’t often go head-to-head against Rookie of the Year candidate, Ja Morant, Paschall played well enough to hopefully earn him a seat at the table when the final votes for best rookie performance come around.
Here are those eight 4th quarter points, from Joe Viray’s breakdown earlier this morning:
Alongside him, Alec Burks has continued to impress, providing a stabling veteran influence while continually dicing his way through defenses. Last night he managed 29 points on just 15 shot attempts
But the real story emerging from last night was the beginning signs of a shift - or more precisely: we saw how a meaningful shift in quality on this team could happen.
Beyond Burks and Paschall’s great performance (which are becoming common enough to expect with some regularity) we saw how this roster could gel into an effective unit. Here are some of the best parts of last night’s performance that I’d like to see carry over into today:
- Draymond Green serves as the floor general on both ends, leaning into the strengths of his game on both ends, rather than try to force feed his stat sheet.
- Marquesse Chriss... the defender? The starter? Sure, we’ve been saying for a long time that Willie Cauley-Stein probably isn’t going to be the post defender this team needs, but what if Chriss was? At just 22 years-old the former #8 pick is still developing. If this team is going to forge out from the land of horrible teams into the world of decent ones, it is looking increasingly like Chriss will play a significant role in that. Last night we got four blocks from the young big man, as well as a very nice 17 points and six rebounds off the bench.
- A shorter rotation that works is something of a necessity right now. No official announcement yet, but Green banged his already injured arm again last night and given that this is the second game of a back-to-back, I’d normally predict that he sits. I don’t know that the team will intentionally start the game with only eight players suited up, but watch Green’s minutes tonight.
How far can Luka Doncic take the Mavericks this season?
Doncic appears to be appointed as one of the next generation of rising NBA superstars. It’s warranted enough that we can just skip the questions about his place in the future amongst the pantheon of NBA greats, and dive right into the more immediate concern about how far he can take his team now.
The Mavericks roster is decent behind him, but Doncic is clearly the pace-setter for this team. He’s posting impressive per game averages of 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, 9.3 assists, and 1.2 steals. He’s killing teams as the ball-handler out of the pick and roll mostly. According to Jake Kemp at The Athletic, he is using close to 40% of the team’s offensive possessions as a ball handler in the pick and roll, and converting at an elite rate.
Dallas now owns the most efficient pick-and-roll offense in the league on possessions where the ball-handler finishes the play. They’re using it a bit less but absolutely slaughtering defenders with it when they do. In fact, if that mark of 1.067 PPP held, it would likely be the most effective pick-and-roll offense ever (Synergy tracks play-type data dating back to 2004-05). This is particularly encouraging because it’s entirely possible that usage inches up as teammates get a better feel for one another, without surrendering too much in terms of efficiency.
The supporting cast is there as well. Porzingis is the second-leading scorer, averaging 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while still working his way back from a serious leg injury. They’ve also got some familiar faces like Seth Curry, and Wright brother. Delon Wright.
As much as I’d love to see a new record win streak set for the season, I think that off a back-to-back night, running a roster of just eight guys (with one of them fairly banged up), against a playoff team is asking too much.
Warriors lose a heart-breaker close game in the 2nd quarter, but not our hearts.