Going into Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks were one of two undefeated teams in the NBA. Dallas was coming off a big win over the Chicago Bulls and was playing at a high level.
After a very stressful night for Mavs fans, they saw their team take their first loss of the season.
The Nuggets beat the Mavericks by a score of 125-114, in each team's first game in the NBA In-Season Tournament.
Mavericks dominated in key part of game in loss to Nuggets
Friday morning, it was announced that Sean Sweeney would be the head coach for the Mavericks squad, as Jason Kidd was dealing with an illness.
It was a very mentally stressful night for night Luka Doncic as he was going back and forth with the officials for all four quarters.
Doncic recorded a season-high of nine turnovers in the Mavericks loss. The upside of Doncic’s performance tonight was that he dropped 34 points and shot a very efficient 6/11 from behind the arc. He made a clear case once again to be in talks of winning the NBA Clutch Player of the Year award.
One of the biggest struggles for the Mavericks tonight was allowing the Nuggets to grab 19 offensive rebounds, including seven of those coming from reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic. Denver dominated Dallas on the glass.
The Mavs severely struggled in their pick-and-roll defense, as Jamal Murray and Jokic torched them all night long. One could easily debate that this would’ve been controlled better if Maxi Kleber was able to play.
In the second half, Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, and Jaden Hardy all started to play more aggressively which allowed the Mavs to get back into the game. If the Mavericks want to be a legitimate title contender this season, they will need Irving to be way more aggressive in both halves.
In a very underrated performance from Jaden Hardy, he led the team in a plus-minus of plus 8. Hardy has clearly solidified his spot in the Mavericks' rotation and has proven to be a great spot-up shooter in the corner.
The Mavericks have made a clear case that they’re an extremely better team when running a fast-paced offense, which allowed them to cut the deficit to just nine points in the middle of the fourth quarter.
If Dereck Lively II and Dwight Powell can improve on their rebounding skills, this Mavs squad will be difficult to beat.
The Mavericks will head back to the AAC as they are set to face the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night.
For all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic this season, stay tuned.