The Dallas Mavericks had a joyful Christmas, taking down their rival, the Phoenix Suns, 128-114. All-Star Luka Doncic made history Monday when he became the second-youngest player to eclipse 10,000 NBA career points.
Dereck Lively II did his part as he returned from a left ankle sprain. The Dallas rookie recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mavs also changed up its lineup when they brought Grant Williams off the bench for the first time this season. Williams did an excellent job helping defend Kevin Durant while setting the tone late with an altercation with Devin Booker.
Big change in Dallas Mavericks' lineup leads to improved offense
Williams transitioned into his new role well as he did everything. He switched off between the center and power forward positions.
Playing Williams at the center spot allowed Dallas to use a diverse small ball lineup.
This is a trend that has been working for the Mavs. Last week, the team used a small ball lineup to nearly complete a comeback against the LA Clippers. Dallas utilized a frontcourt that consisted of Williams and Derrick Jones Jr.
The lineup worked in Dallas' favor. Whenever the team was without Dwight Powell on the court, the Mavs used their speed to attack the basket, crowd the half-court, and transition faster on defense.
Dallas however lost the game as the Clippers countered with a small ball lineup of their own.
Coach Jason Kidd spoke about the small ball lineup and the impact on Dallas. He compared the team's differences in the second half.
"There's a lot of character in that locker room [with] understanding things weren't going well for us in the first half. But I thought we turned it around in the second half. No one feels bad for us that we're short-handed, but those guys fought."- Coach Jason Kidd
Dallas deployed a different small ball lineup against the San Antonio Spurs. In the game, the team used a starting group that consisted of Doncic, Dante Exum, Tim Hardaway Jr., Williams, and Jones Jr. The lineup worked out for the Mavs as it used its speed to outscore the Spurs inside by attacking the rim.
Against the Suns, Dallas used a small ball lineup whenever Lively II was off the court. At one point, the team used a lineup that consisted of Doncic, Seth Curry, Jaden Hardy, Jones Jr., and Williams. The group helped the team go on a late run that cut Phoenix's lead to one.
So, can the Dallas offense succeed with a 6-foot-6 center? Of course, the team has shown before that a small ball lineup is one of their strengths.
The main question is how much will Dallas continue to utilize their small ball lineup in the future?
For all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.