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Are the Mavericks an elite defensive team?

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Luka Doncic / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are playing with more effort on the defensive end

The Mavs were hit hard by a COVID outbreak that started on Dec. 18. It seemed like a new player was entering the health and safety protocols on a daily basis, and Dallas still has not fully escaped it. They had eight of their 15 players miss time, and the Mavericks were forced to sign replacement players just to keep playing. The ten-day guys brought some increased energy and effort as they looked to land a full-time NBA contract, and that has translated to the rest of the roster.

The Mavs are flying around the floor right now and committed to getting stops. It starts with superstar Luka Doncic. Since returning from his stint in the health and safety protocols on Jan. 2, the 22-year-old is rotating down to contest shots at the rim and sprinting out to the perimeter to force a difficult jumper. Doncic struggled with his conditioning to begin this season, but those issues are a thing of the past.

Hopefully, Luka can shake off rolling his ankle late in the fourth quarter against the Warriors and remain in the lineup for Friday’s game in Houston. Number 77 is just heating up, and the best is still yet to come from the 22-year-old superstar.

It is not just Luka. Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Jalen Brunson are leading the team’s defense and playing with incredible energy. Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown are finally offering the perimeter D the Mavericks envisioned when they signed them in the offseason. The increased effort has Dallas playing defense at an elite level.

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