NBA -- Brunson a huge key for Mavs' life without Luka
By Japheth Bandi
Wed, 18 Dec 2019
MILWAUKEE - No thanks to a sprained ankle, rising star Luka Doncic, last season's runaway Rookie of the Year winner, will be sidelined for at least two weeks.
For the Dallas Mavericks, life without their budding All-Star and offensive leader began with a road trip yesterday here in Milwaukee where they visited the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks at a full-house Fiserv Forum.
As it turned out, the Mavs not only acquitted themselves well, they actually penciled a victory that snapped the Bucks' season-high 18-game winning streak.
Not only did Dallas somehow weather this fleeting adversity, they also withstood the one-man rampage of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who lit the arena with 48 points and 14 rebounds.
Dallas' recipe for success was simple. They shot the ball at a high rate (41 of 88 from the field and 16 of 41 from long distance ) and they moved the ball around exceptionally well, producing 27 assists.
"We just felt that if we come out and really concentrated on ourselves, with a pretty simple game plan, we give ourselves a chance," Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters at his post-game press conference outside the visitors' locker following the 48-minute scrap.
Is this sustainable though given the fact that Doncic is leaving a void that is difficult to fill --- 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 rebounds per?
Kristaps Porzingis would have to step up, a task he proved capable of doing by dropping 26 points and 12 boards. The rest of the Mavericks would have to step up as well.
But an important key of plugging in the leaks Doncic' absence will cause is Jalen Brunson.
The second-year guard will not be a triple-double machine like Doncic but he can be a good game manager, something he did against Milwaukee as the Villanova alum finished with an efficient 13 points and 11 assists.
Though ranked third in the Western Conference with a 20-8 record, the Mavericks a long, difficult path ahead without Doncic. But Brunson should help smooth some of the bumps.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Japheth Bandi.
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