The Dallas Mavericks went into Wednesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors with a 6-1 record, looking for another win to add to their hot start.
This team was finally able to finish some games in the clutch, and Dereck Lively II proved himself to be Dallas' new defensive anchor.
Mavs head coach Jason Kidd announced that Lively II wouldn't be playing before the game, so fans knew that his game would look different as they wouldn't have their rim protector.
Mavericks' early-season luck finally runs out in loss to Raptors
Dallas started the game strong as they led 33-27 at the end of the first quarter, but Toronto's dominance in the paint ended up being too much for Dallas. The Mavs also weren't able to come back in the second half like they had in many of their previous games, and Dallas' luck finally ran out.
The Raptors won 127-116, causing Dallas to fall to 6-2.
Pascal Siakam was the star of the night as he finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. He was unstoppable offensively and put on a show.
Dallas gave up 72 points in the paint in the loss, proving Lively II's value as a rim protector. The game had different vibes without him, and Dallas missed their lob catcher and rim protector.
"We missed him a lot, Kidd said. "We had no one in the paint tonight. That shows how important he is to our team."
Dallas' key shooter from the first few games, Grant Williams, also didn't have his typical hot shooting game, and he only scored six points on seven shot attempts.
Luka Doncic still had a solid game, as he finished with 31 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, and four steals, but it was too little too late. Doncic also struggled shooting the ball, as he shot 11-26 from the field and 2-10 from behind the 3-point line.
This was not an ideal game for Dallas, but having Lively II back soon will help.
Dallas' next game is on Friday night at home against the LA Clippers.
For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.