The Dallas Mavericks got the best of the San Antonio Spurs on opening night. Dallas defeated San Antonio by seven points, with the final score being 126-119.
Despite winning the game by seven, it looked as if Dallas would narrowly get by the young San Antonio squad for the majority of the game. The Mavs lost the first quarter, 43-36, likely due to the starting five's poor performance to begin the game.
Head coach Jason Kidd started Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., Grant Williams, and Maxi Kleber against the Spurs. Many questioned Kidd's inclusion of Jones Jr. and Kleber in the starting lineup.
Mavericks' best lineup is obvious after just one game
Dallas' first-round pick, Dereck Lively II, had excelled during the preseason. He averaged 6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game while starting every contest. Lively II seemed like a shoo-in for the starting big spot. But, Kidd had other plans.
Besides the exclusion of Lively II, another former first-round pick was excluded from the opening five. Josh Green, who just signed a contract extension, came off the bench, but played 30 minutes in the opener. Like Lively II, the young Maverick played well in the preseason. He averaged 10.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Kidd's decision to start Jones Jr. and Kleber was surprising, to say the least. But after a dominant performance from Lively II and a good game from Green, the starting five should now be settled.
The quintet of Doncic, Irving, Green, Williams, and Lively II played fantastically with one another. This group can light up the scoreboard, but also defend at a high level.
And the inclusion of Lively II and Green doesn't drastically alter the bench. The Mavs still have Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, and Jaden Hardy as scorers off the bench. Furthermore, Kleber, Jones Jr., Dante Exum, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, and Dwight Powell can come in at any time to provide defense and high energy.
While it looks like Jones Jr. could start again tonight (take probable starters with a grain of salt), Green will surely play around 30 minutes and likely cement himself as the starter going forward.
The Mavs have an exciting core and Kidd should run with it more often than not. That means starting these five, so the slow starts won't begin to plague the Mavs.