Last night, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 128-114 for the NBA's final Christmas Day game of the night.
Luka Doncic stole the show as he was seemingly unstoppable for the entire game and finished with 50 points. Doncic also scored his 10,000th point of his career in the first quarter of this game, making him sixth-youngest player to reach this milestone.
The Mavericks and Suns always provide a great matchup, and having Dereck Lively II return to the mix was massive for Dallas. Lively II had missed time with an ankle sprain, and their defense suffered tremendously when he was out.
Dallas Mavericks to use new starting lineup that fans will love
Now that Lively II is back, Dallas has four of their five starters healthy. Recently Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said that Dante Exum will remain a starter even once Kyrie Irving returns from injury.
And now we know who will join Irving, Doncic, Exum, and Lively II in the starting lineup.
Kidd said that he plans for Derrick Jones Jr. to start alongside Exum, Doncic, and Lively II once Irving returns.
Jones Jr. has been one of the Mavericks' best offseason signings this season and has been crucial for Dallas' success. He is averaging 9.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.
He has been a great energizer for Dallas in transition and has also been a good spot-up shooter. This has been the best scoring season of his career, and he is showing that he is worth much more than a veteran's minimum contract.
This new starting lineup will be extremely fun to watch, as Dallas will have three ball handlers in Exum, Irving, and Doncic with Jones Jr. as the small ball power forward with Lively II at center. Grant Williams will now come off the bench.
Jones Jr.'s game against Phoenix was a great example of why he will be good as a small ball four. He showed flashes that he can score out of the short roll and was a great shooter off the catch.
This will be a fun new look for Dallas, and it could unlock a whole new level of success, considering how good Exum has been as of late.
For all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.