DALLAS — Even before his home debut as Dallas Mavericks head coach, Jason Kidd already decided on a big on-court decision: every player that Kidd had available tonight would play in tonight’s game. It’s a good thing that happened, as a good number of Dallas’ reserves stepped up to clinch a debut victory in Big D for the new skipper.
The reserve trio of Reggie Bullock, Boban Marjanovic and Jalen Brunson each scored in double figures, helping the Mavericks hold off the Houston Rockets, 116-106, in Kidd’s first regular-season game as head coach inside the American Airlines Center. Star guard Luka Doncic led all Dallas scorers with 26 points, and he also amassed 14 rebounds and seven assists.
Kidd met with the leaders on the team before tonight, where the the possibility of playing everyone on the active roster was discussed and, eventually, decided upon, and his bench responded with 52 combined points, including a key stretch run early in the fourth to provide Dallas some breathing room.
Holding on to a 91-89 lead to begin the fourth after a free throw from Rockets big man Alperen Sengun, Dallas went on a 12-3 run, with all of the points scored by either Bullock or Boban. Bullock’s three-pointer started the run, a couple of short jumpers in the lane by Marjanovic were sandwiched in between, and Bullock’s three at the 8:50 mark (his eighth point during the run) gave Dallas a 103-92 advantage. Dallas’ lead did not dip below six for the rest of the contest.
Bullock finished with 16 points, while Marjanovic finished with 11 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field.
“Boban was great,” Kidd said about Marjanovic, who was making his season debut tonight. “I won’t be able to do that a lot more, to play all 15. It’s a beautiful thing, the chemistry and accountability. Everyone’s playing, but we’re playing to win, and they did that tonight.”
Brunson also finished with 11 points off the bench, and six of those came in the third quarter when Dallas started the second half on an 11-0 run to turn around a four-point deficit, 60-56, at intermission. Tim Hardaway Jr. made a couple of threes in the first 90 seconds of the third, and a Doncic three-point play gave the Mavericks a 67-60 lead just under two minutes into the quarter. Along with the 11 points, Brunson also had 11 assists. and four rebounds.
Eric Gordon led all scorers for the Rockets with 22 points off the bench, while Christian Wood had 16 points and 17 rebounds. Guard Jalen Green, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, ended with just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 33 pictures in total.