Mavs Notes: Doncic, Irving, Kidd, Gafford, Adjustments

Luka Doncic believes he needs to be more assertive in the Mavericks’ first-round series against the Clippers. Los Angeles jumped to a 26-point halftime lead and cruised to a 109-97 win in Game 1 on Sunday.

“I just gotta stay aggressive. That was my bad,” Doncic said, per Mike Curtis of the Dallas Morning News. “In the first half, I wasn’t aggressive enough. I just gotta stay aggressive and find the open man.”

His backcourt partner has somewhat of an explanation for the team’s 30-point first half.

“We knew we were going to have to knock off some rust,” Kyrie Irving said. “Us as a team, we have guys that have missed three weeks, two weeks. [Tim Hardaway Jr.] not being with us for the past few days of preparation. I’m not saying those things are excuses, but internally, those things matter for the importance of what we’re getting ready for.”

We have more on the Mavs:

  • Jason Kidd, whose job security may hinge on how the team fares in the playoffs, had a simple explanation for the Game 1 defeat, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “They were physical and we were passive,” Kidd said. Dallas’ frontcourt was especially ineffective and Daniel Gafford, who tweaked his ankle during the contest, takes the blame. “I just didn’t come out ready to play, in all honesty,” he said. “I have to be better when it comes to me being a starter on the floor. I have to be able to be better in areas that I’ve always succeeded in throughout the regular season. I’ve got to come out and I’ve got to play playoff basketball, not what I showed out (Sunday).”
  • The Mavs failed to make adjustments on Sunday until it was too late, Tim Cato of The Athletic opines. It ultimately resulted in a wasted opportunity, since the Clippers are playing without Kawhi Leonard for the time being.
  • It may not have shown up in the opener, but Irving could be the ideal postseason partner for Doncic, Cato writes. When all goes well, the two guards might be the two best players on the floor for either side.
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