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Mavericks fall to Heat due to poor shooting night

by Tyler Lennon

The challenge for the Dallas Mavericks so far this season has been their slow starts in the first quarter. In Tuesday’s nationally televised game against the Miami Heat that was not the case, as the Mavericks got out to a quick 20-9 lead.

Dallas’ fast start was in large part to their shots falling, as Dorian Finney-Smith, Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock each knocked down a 3-pointer in the first few minutes of the game. The Mavericks brought the bench unit in to finish out the quarter and it was Jalen Brunson, as always, who kept the offense going, helping Dallas take a 30-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Mavericks got off to a very slow start in the second quarter, with a bench unit that struggled to find any offense. With the starters back in the offense picked back up and Dallas held on to a 60-59 lead, before Miami went on an incredible run to end the half, taking a 70-62 lead at the end of the first half, outscoring the Mavericks 46-32 in the second quarter.

Doncic was of course a bright spot for Dallas in the first half, scoring 19 points and dishing out four assists while playing strong on-ball defense. Hardaway Jr. and Brunson each had 12 points in the first half, but Dallas struggled to get production from many other players.

The same problems continued for the Mavericks in the second half, as they were never quite able to work their way back into the game. They were outscored in each of the final two quarters, eventually falling by a final score of 125-110.

For the Mavericks, the number one issue to point to was their poor shooting, making just 33% of their 3-point shots. The poor outing was par for where they’ve been at this season, as they now shoot 31.5% from 3-point range on the season, which is 26th in the league.

With both Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber out, Dallas needed production from more than just Doncic and Brunson and were unable to get it, though they each had great nights. Doncic finished with 33 points, while Brunson had 25 points on 10-13 shooting. “I mean yes they’re great players and they help us a lot. So we missed them,” Doncic said after the game.

Hardaway Jr. also added 17 points, though he made just five of his 15 attempts on the night. Bullock also finished in double-digits for the second time this season, scoring 10 points on 3-7 shooting, all of which were 3-pointers.

With the hot start Brunson has gotten off to fans wondered if he would possibly added to the starting lineup. Getting the chance to do so Tuesday he excelled, and head coach Jason Kidd spoke about it after the game.

“I think, again, being able to have a second ball-handler out there is going to help [Doncic],” Kidd said. “I thought Brunson did an incredible job, too.”

The loss drops the Mavericks record to 4-3 to start the season, though they will get another chance to get back in the win column Wednesday when the travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs for the second time this year. In their first meeting Dallas won 104-99, thanks to great outings from Doncic and Brunson. 

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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