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Dallas Mavericks: Willie Cauley-Stein wins Defensive Player of Game belt

Dallas Mavericks Willie Cauley-Stein Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Willie Cauley-Stein Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are committed to improving their defense. They had the best offense in the league last season, but their middle of the road defense kept them from title contention. The Mavs goal is to get into the top ten. They upgraded their personnel in the offseason, but fans have not seen the team’s entire roster healthy yet. Will it be enough?

The Mavericks are focusing on defense in their practices and doing everything they can to improve. Supporters have seen the fruits of that labor early on. Dallas has held the opposition to 100 or fewer points five times already this season. They accomplished that feat on just 15 occasions last season.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle gave the team some incentive to stand out on defense after Wednesday’s win over the Pacers. Let us take a look at the new prize, how to win it, and the first recipient.

More. How the Mavs are transforming into a top 5 defense

Willie Cauley-Stein wins Dallas Mavericks first Defensive Player of the Game

The Mavs moved Willie Cauley-Stein back to the bench to match up against the Pacers going small in their starting five. Trill produced ten points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in 19 minutes of action in the win. He was protecting the rim and flying around the court on Jan. 20. His play earned him Defensive Player of the Game, which the Mavs are celebrating with a championship belt. See it below, plus a video of the presentation.

The Dallas Mavericks will present the belt to the top defender after every win for the rest of the season. Cauley-Stein picked up the W on Wednesday night, but it could anyone earning the honors in their next win. Fans know Luka is extremely competitive. He wants to hold that belt next. Expect every Maverick to be vying for the crown.

The championship belt was an awesome touch. It will be interesting to see if it impacts the team’s play going forward. Hopefully, it gets awarded again on Friday night when the Mavs take on the Spurs in the first of a back-to-back set. Do not miss it.

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