Last night, the Dallas Mavericks suffered a 132-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center and fell to 24-20 and eighth in the Western Conference.
Dallas came out of the gates hot, as they led 34-24 at the end of the first quarter, but things went downhill about halfway through the second quarter. Phoenix outscored Dallas 32-24 in the second quarter and 43-20 in the third quarter.
The game was pretty much over once the fourth quarter rolled around, and Dallas couldn't get themselves back in the game.
Mavericks star Luka Doncic reveals key to winning that team must focus on
After the game, Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic gave some insight into what was working for the Mavs early in the game, and he believes that this directly translates to winning for this team.
"No, I think we just played very physically the first 17 or 18 minutes," Doncic said when asked if the team lost composure. "Then our physicality went down, and that’s when we struggled. We got to be physical all game."
Doncic hit the nail on the head with this one, as Dallas' physicality early in this game is what set the tone. Early on, Grant Williams fouled Kevin Durant and stood over him for a second. Jusuf Nurkic responded to this by shoving Williams. Williams then went back at Nurkic with a hard bump, and both players were separated by their teammates.
Nurkic and Williams were assessed technical fouls for this altercation, and although Williams clearly did stand over Durant, these are the types of physical plays that Dallas needs from him. Williams knows his role, and he is no stranger to stirring the pot against the Suns. He was looking forward to playing the Suns before the season even started, and he is seemingly always the one in the middle of banter and altercations when they happen
Dallas' physicality took a big dip as the game progressed, and that could have directly correlated with the Suns' big runs.
"We just got to be more physical – that’s it," Doncic said. "I think when we play physical 48 minutes it’s hard to beat us. We got to play physically without fouling."
Williams sometimes has a tough time with walking the tightrope of playing physically without fouling, but Doncic is right about this. Dallas is at their best when the team is playing with intensity and physicality, but bringing that every game is tough to do.
For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Grant Williams, and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.