unbelievable: 3 thoughts after the Dallas Mavericks win huge ….

The Dallas Mavericks came away with a crunch-time victory at home against Golden State Friday night, winning 108-106 off a game-winning basket from P.J. Washington. Washington led Dallas with a monstrous line: 32 points, five rebounds, three assists, five steals and two blocks. Steph Curry led the Warriors in defeat with 28 points.

The Mavs lost a closely contested match against the Warriors just three days ago in San Francisco, 104-100. Dallas was without Luka Doncic and Dereck Lively II for tonight’s game, but Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins would not suit up for Steve Kerr’s squad, either.

It was a largely back-and-forth affair, with Dallas pulling ahead by as many as 16 and Golden State constantly nipping at their heels. Despite Dallas finding ways to pull ahead time and again throughout the game, Curry managed to tie the game at 106 all and 13 seconds remaining. Head coach Jason Kidd drew up a great play where the ball went from a doubled Kyrie Irving to a driving Tim Hardaway who found Washington for a game-winning finish.

Let’s take a look at how the Mavericks managed to take care of business as they try to ward off team’s biting at their heels for the 5 spot in the western conference standings as we approach the playoffs.

Team effort and no Luka/ Lively

Without Doncic and Lively in the lineup, full control of the reigns would be handled by Kyrie Irving, which makes you feel pretty comfortable. As usual, Irving orchestrated a solid team performance, with five Mavs players contributing double digits to the final score. Irving, himself, provided a very typical 26-point game while dishing out 7 assists. Without Lively to spell him, coach Kidd had to lean a bit heavier on starting center Daniel Gafford, who played 31 minutes, brought down 15 boards, and added 10 points overall. It’s easy to take for granted how fortunate the Mavs are to finally possess a strong frontcourt; without either Lively or Gafford in the game, it becomes very clear how important they both are to the unit on both sides of the ball. Hardaway and Exum put up 13 and 11, respectively. Then, there was PJ Washington…

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for P.J. Washington

PJ Washington averages 12.9 points per game. After going through a bit of a shooting slump since the trade to Dallas, his performances over the past several games have seen those numbers take a jump in the right direction. After putting up 20 and 19 over the prior two Dallas matches, he chipped in 32 this evening, going over 60% from deep and on-field goals. On top of being a tremendous perimeter defender, Washington can also be a very respectable scorer when called upon; hopefully, he’s found his consistency as the Mavericks head towards the playoffs. If the Mavericks can continue to rely on PJ to bring this kind of offensive game as they enter the playoffs, the already difficult matchups the Mavs bring opposing teams from an offensive standpoint could begin to get out of hand.

Backbone in crunch time

As mentioned above, the Mavs lost a tightly contested game to the Warriors earlier in the week. And while the Warriors were without two of their starters in Kuminga and Wiggins, any time Dallas steps on the court without Doncic in the lineup can make the game feel very different. Without the playoffs quickly approaching and Doncic’s usage rate through the roof, as usual, it cannot be overstated how important it is to get him a night off and still come away with a win against a still very talented Golden State Warriors team. Steph nearly brought Warriors back in the fourth after the Warriors had trailed by as many as 10 points, but Dallas again showed its backbone by getting key stops, huge takeaways, and rebounds as the final minutes ticked away into their favor. These are the types of games that prepare teams for the playoffs. These Mavericks showed discipline and grit tonight, adding more fuel to an already confident and seemingly very tight group of guys.

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