The Mavericks started the season opener off hot, as they built an early lead against the Phoenix Suns.
Suns fans brought the playoff-like energy to the Footprint Center. And can you blame them? If my team ended their season losing in such an embarrassing fashion, I’d get up for this game as well.
I don’t think I need to remind you what Dallas did in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
Phoenix’s offense looked unwell in their season debut, some of which in part to Deandre Ayton’s early foul troubles that quickly sidelined him. Regardless, this didn’t appear to be a team that finished with 64 wins just a year ago.
Dallas built a 17 point lead at half, which grew as big as 22 early in the 3rd quarter.
This third quarter, however, is where it began to fall apart.
“We played for 3-1/2 quarters, then we run out of steam,” Head Coach Jason Kidd stated.
One bright spot from this game was the play of newcomer, Christian Wood. Wood appeared to knock down every shot he took, at one point scoring 16 straight Maverick points. He was on fire and we even saw a little shrug from him.
Wood’s only area of struggle was at the charity stripe. Wood finished 3-10 at the free throw line. It would be lazy to point to his struggles at the line as to why the Mavericks lost. You have to zoom out and see just how stagnant the offense became in the third quarter.
Wood also finished the game with 25 points and 8 rebounds, 12 of those points coming from beyond the arc. We’re all left scratching our heads as to why Wood was benched in the 4th quarter.
Give credit to the Suns for sticking with it. They rallied late with 28 points from Booker and 20 points, 11 assists from future hall of famer Chris Paul. Even in the end, it was Damion Lee who (travelled) hit the go ahead bucket with just under 10 seconds remaining in the game.
With no timeouts, Dallas was still able to get the ball in their best player’s hands for a potential game winner. The shot didn’t fall and now we’re looking at the next 81 games.