DALLAS — After letting a 22-point lead slip away on the court where they earned their most satisfying win of last season, the Dallas Mavericks returned to Big D and had to wait three days before getting that season-opening loss out of their mouths. From the start of Saturday’s contest, the Mavericks stepped on the gas and did not relent until it recorded one of the most resounding victories in team history — and do so against a player who had been unstoppable before coming to town.
Luka Doncic scored 21 of his 32 points in the first quarter as the Mavericks pounded the Memphis Grizzlies 137-96 in Dallas’ home opener. Offseason acquisition Christian Wood added 25 points, 12 rebound and three assists off the bench, as the Mavericks opened up a 22-point lead after the game’s first 12 minutes and never trailed in the game. In the season opener on Wednesday night in Phoenix, the Mavericks led by as many as 22 points in the arena that it won its Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference semifinals against the Suns. Unlike that contest last May, one which the Mavericks cruised to a 33-point victory, the Suns came back and eventually came away with a two-point victory after a Doncic three-pointer at the buzzer hit off the rim.
After Memphis and Dallas exchanged baskets for 4-all, the Mavericks went on a 32-7 run to put away the game early.
“I thought it was carryover from the last game. I thought the guys paid attention to the details that we talked about, learning from our mistakes in Phoenix,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. “It happens in a season. This group, we talked about it. I thought Luka and those guys set the tone in the first quarter by the paint touches. We got good looks, make or miss. Defensively, we talked about rebounding the ball and I thought those guys set the tone there, too.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday 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 24 pictures in total.