Dallas Mavericks defensive woes continue as Hawks outduel Luka Doncic in Dallas

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Atlanta Hawks 130-122 at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night. Atlanta was not going to let Luka Doncic defeat them, so they mixed up the coverages and sent two players often in hopes of slowing him down. The 23-year-old superstar finished with 30 points, four rebounds, and eight assists in 39 minutes of action. He made nine of his 19 field goal attempts and went ten of 12 from the foul line, but the Hawks got the last laugh on Jan. 18.

The Hawks exploded for 40 points in the first quarter on Wednesday night, and the Mavs did not get their first lead until the second half. Both teams shot the lights out at the American Airlines Center, and it was the third straight game that Dallas allowed at least 130 points. The Mavs defense was slipped significantly since Maxi Kleber injured his hamstring on Dec. 13. The 6’10 big man vowed to return this season before the game, but Dallas must play better defense as he remains out.

The Mavs have struggled on the defensive end this season, and those woes continued on Wednesday night against the Hawks. Dejounte Murray had a 30-point game as eight Hawks scored in double-figures to defeat Dallas, despite Luka Doncic scoring 30. Here is a closer look at the game, and what is next for the Mavericks.

Dallas Mavericks defensive woes continue as Hawks outduel Luka Doncic in Dallas

The Hawks shot 57.0 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range on Wednesday night to pull the upset in Dallas. The Mavs cannot win when they allow 130 points. They need to get stops and lock in on the defensive end if they want to snap their three-game losing streak next time out.

The Mavs finally got some reinforcements back on Wednesday night as Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Green returned from long absences. Both players missed more than a month with injuries, and Dallas was happy to have them back. They did not help their struggling defense much on Jan. 18, but the Mavericks need two of their best perimeter defenders in the lineup moving forward.

Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock need to find their perimeter defense from last season. Both played outstanding down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs as the Mavericks made a run to the conference finals. Doe-Doe’s injury coupled with Bullock struggling has Dallas sitting 25th in defensive rating. 

Doncic’s father was at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night, and Sasa Doncic was seated next to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on the day the rumor came out that Luka wants Dallas to upgrade their roster around him before the trade deadline. The 23-year-old superstar put on a show in front of his father, but it was not enough as the Mavs slipped to 24-22 on the season.

The Dallas Mavericks host the Miami Heat on Friday night in their second straight game on ESPN. It will be the second of a four-game homestand, and Luka Doncic will be eager to snap the team’s three-game losing streak. Do not miss it as number 77 is certain to go off and put up monster numbers.

Next. Timeline of Luka Doncic and Trae Young's paths crossing. dark