The Dallas Mavericks shocked the world when they acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks in a seven-player trade a few days ago. The trade turns Dallas into serious title contenders next year, but it also eliminates any realistic chance the team can make the playoffs this season. It is going to be too hard to replace the production of DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews and Dennis Smith with Porzingis still recovering from his knee injury. The Mavericks played their second game since the huge trade when they faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, February 2.
Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke and Courtney Lee still have not officially joined the team, so Dallas was forced to play with an extremely depleted roster on Saturday night. Luckily, the Mavs were playing one of the few teams in the league that would not put up much of a fight against their thin roster. The Cavaliers simply have no aspirations to win at the moment, and this lack of passion was on display throughout the game.
The small roster allowed Luka Doncic to take full control of the Dallas offense. The rookie did not disappoint. Doncic was simply unstoppable the entire game. His excellent play propelled the Mavericks to one of their best opening quarters of the season. Dallas held a nine-point lead after scoring 40 points in the first 12 minutes of the game.
With Doncic resting periodically in the second quarter, the Dallas offense struggled to maintain their hot start. The team just could not generate enough open shots with their best player on the bench. The Mavs saw their lead shrink to only three points at halftime after only scoring 18 points in the second quarter. The third quarter was fairly tight, but the Mavs were still able to extend their lead to six points.
The ineptitude was the Cavaliers was on full display in the fourth quarter. Despite having a realistic chance to win the game, Cleveland showed no desire to play hard in the closing minutes. Cleveland spent most of the final quarter shooting desperation three-pointers, which helped Dallas cruise to an easy 111-98 victory.
The Dallas Mavericks will return to action when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, February 6. This time off should give the newly acquired players plenty of time to join the team at American Airlines Center. With the roster so thin, Hardaway, Lee and Burke will all likely play significant minutes.