Threes a crowd as Mavericks visit Bulls
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Dallas coach Rick Carlisle is calling it the "new age of basketball."
The Mavericks are all in.
The Mavs hoisted up a franchise-record 50 3-pointers in a 140-136 victory over Minnesota in their home opener Saturday, when 19-year old Luka Doncic and Wesley Matthews made four 3-pointers apiece and Dennis Smith converted a tie-breaking threepoint play with 6.1 seconds remaining for the victory.
Next up, long-distance threat Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls, one of five winless teams after the first week and a half of the NBA season. They will meet Monday in Dallas.
"The days of games in the 80s are probably done," Carlisle said after the wild victory over the T-Wolves, in which nine Mavericks made at least one 3-pointer.
"Everything is spread out. There's freedom of movement. There's four attackers and often times five 3-point shooters and there are missiles flying everywhere. It's a systematic thing. You have to keep getting the good (threes). That's where the money is. It is such a potent weapon that the good threes are a must."
With their all-angle assault Saturday, the Mavs' 140 points was their highest total in reugulation since they beat the Los Angeles Lakers 140-106 on Nov. 21, 2014 -- a span of 316 games.
Loyalists could be excused for beginning to feel a little giddy -- the last time the Mavericks won 50 games was in 2014-15.
Precocious rookie Doncic had 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and six turnovers against Minnesota in his second career game. Smith, Matthews and reserve Dwight Powell had 19 points apiece, and center DeAndre Jordan had 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocked shots.
"We've got young guys with high character and poise with good basketball IQs," Jordan told reporters after the Minnesota game.
Dallas has received contributions from all corners. Powell has 35 points and 11 rebounds while making 12-of-15 field goal attempts in the first two games, and reserve point guard J.J. Barea has 21 points, 21 assists and one turnover in 42 minutes. He is tied for the league lead with 10.5 assists per game.
The Mavs have played without leading returning scorer Harrison Barnes, who has been out since preseason with a strained right hamstring and is not expected to play against the Bulls. Barnes made a career-high 119 threes last season while shooting 35.7 from distance.
"We've got to be like killer bees out there, swarming, going after everything," Carlisle said. "Everybody's got to be ready to hit a shot, everybody's got to be ready to get on the floor after a loose ball."
Bulls' guard LaVine had his second 30-point game of the season when he scored 33 in a 118-116 loss to Detroit in the Bulls' home opener on Saturday, when he tied the game on a 3-pointer with 24.1 seconds remaining but permitted Ish Smith to get past him for the go-ahead layups on the next possession. LaVine lost lost control of the ball while going up for a potential game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds.
"I feel like I did good job facilitating, making the right plays, scored when I had to and we got back into the game," LaVine told reporters.
"I just have to end it. That's the main thing. I had a chance. It was an emotional roller coaster, going from hitting a game-tying three to letting the ball slip out of your hands. There were a lot of cuss words I said."
LaVine had 30 points in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia and is the third player in franchise history to score at least 30 points in the first two games of a season, the first since Michael Jordan in 1986.
"I loved his aggressiveness," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of LaVine after Saturday's loss. "I thought he started the game attacking, and that's when he's at his best."
The Bulls have played without starters Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn in their first two games but are expected to have guard Dunn back against Dallas. Dunn missed two games following the birth of his first child.
Updated October 21, 2018