The sky fell on the Mavs’ heads in a split second, when their +4 lead was suddenly blown away, between Donovan Mitchell’s 2+1, Dwight Powell’s two misses and the alley-oop of the victory signed by the Mitchell-Gobert tandem.
Beaten 100-99, Jason Kidd’s troops still had 11 seconds of possession and the last shot to try to get away with it. But Spencer Dinwiddie’s final attempt barely touched the circle.
Like Nate McMillan the day before after Trae Young’s “game winner”, the Dallas coach was questioned about this last action, and in particular the somewhat surprising choice to have put the ball back into play from the baseline and not in the opposing half of the field, as is usually the case.
“You don’t have to do it”, he recalled. “I think everyone assumes you have to advance it, but you don’t. And we’ve been doing that all year, and we’ve had success like that. And we had the opportunity to win, we just let it go. Spencer has already managed this shot on a pass from Luka. We got what we wanted, the ball, it just didn’t go our way.”
Brooklyn, the counter-example
A month and a week earlier, the Texans had actually found themselves in almost the same configuration on the Brooklyn floor, at -1 with 10 seconds on the clock. Luka Doncic then took the time to go all the way up the field and wait for the two-man take to find Spencer Dinwiddie at 3-point, for the winning shot at the buzzer. Luka Doncic explained that this option allows the ball carrier to see the game better.
Dallas practically executed the same thing, except for a few details, since it was Jalen Brunson who brought the ball up before passing it to Luka Doncic. As for Spencer Dinwiddie, he also inherited the same shot, disputed. Except this time, he couldn’t find the string.
“We didn’t execute that move really well. Maybe I should have dribbled more towards the circle (to free up more space outside). I should have had a better shot to offer, but it’s tough. We have another game. We just have to learn from it and move on.”said Luka Doncic.
A debatable choice
Jason Kidd also indicated that he wished the ball had been passed to Luka Doncic more quickly from the slightly fatalistic Jalen Brunson.
“Perhaps we should have been able to go further in painting. The coaches always put us in a position to play to our strengths. On that last shot, it just didn’t work, that’s all.”Slipped the other leader of the Mavs.
Two questions still remain the day after this match. The first concerns Spencer Dinwiddie, who inherited the last shot when he was not in rhythm throughout the evening unlike the match in Brooklyn, in a favorable context for him, on his old floor.
The second remains at -1 with 11 seconds to play, Dallas did not necessarily need a 3-point shot to win. And with the time remaining and a first option quickly taken, Jason Kidd’s team could then have made a mistake in the event of failure and potentially benefit from a second chance, to equalize or to win.
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||42||29.6||39.4||33.6||75.7||0.3||3.4||3.7||2.2||0.8||0.9||0.1||1.8||14.2|
|Dorian Finney Smith||80||33.0||47.1||39.5||67.5||1.5||3.2||4.7||1.9||1.0||1.1||0.5||2.3||11.0|