The Dallas Mavericks went into Wednesday night's matchup with the San Antonio Spurs with some uncertainties and plenty to prove.
Dallas listed Luka Doncic as questionable at the morning shootaround due to his left calf strain, and the starting lineup was still up in the air. This was something that Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said depended on matchups, but fans were still frustrated as everyone seemingly wanted rookie Dereck Lively II to start.
Lively II didn't end up getting the start, but he finished the game.
Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II outshines Victor Wembanyama in win over Spurs
And that's what matters.
Lively II finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. He had an all-around great game and was a massive reason that Dallas was able to defeat the Spurs 126-119.
Wednesday night's game was hyped due to the debut of Victor Wembanyama, but Lively II ultimately outplayed him, and Dallas ended up winning the game. Wembanyama was in foul trouble for the majority of the game and did have plenty of great flashes, but tonight's game will be remembered for a new era at the center position for the Mavericks.
Center has been a weak link for Dallas for many years, and Lively II could be exactly what Dallas needs going forward if he can keep up this high level of play. He looked great in the pick and roll with Luka Doncic and had multiple dunks over Zach Collins.
This was what fans were hoping for when the Mavs drafted Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick, and he looks as if he is going to be exactly what Dallas needed and more.
Lively II was looking forward to the "battle" with Wembanyama leading up to tonight, and he didn't disappoint.
Both of these rookies have promising careers ahead of them, and Dallas and San Antonio will have plenty of great matchups going forward.
We'll have you covered with all the latest news on Dereck Lively II and the Dallas Mavericks this season, so stay tuned.