NBA DAILY DRIBBLE: Wonder Boy Doncic pushes Mavs past .500

NBA results: November 29, 2018

Atlanta Hawks (94) – Charlotte Hornets (108)

New York Knicks (91) – Philadelphia 76ers (117)

Utah Jazz (101) – Brooklyn Nets (91)

Dallas Mavericks (128) – Houston Rockets (108)

Chicago Bulls (113) – Milwaukee Bucks (116)

San Antonio Spurs (89) – Minnesota Timberwolves (128)

Washington Wizards (104) – New Orleans Pelicans (125)

Cleveland Cavaliers (83) – OKC Thunder (100)

Orlando Magic (112) – Portland Trail Blazers (115)

Phoenix Suns (99) – LA Clippers (115)

Five things that happened in the NBA today:

1. Luka’t the Mavericks streaking

Doncic look now (Okay, that’s my last pun), but the Mavericks have won eight of their last 11 games. They’re now 8-3 in November and have won three straight games. More importantly, the Mavericks have moved past the .500 mark with a 10-9 record. They’re currently eighth in the Western Conference.

One of the biggest reasons for their rise this season has been the amazing play of Luka Doncic. The Mavericks’ rookie is only 19 years old but he’s playing like a seasoned veteran, leading Dallas to several big wins this early into his career. Doncic still doesn’t have the same athleticism or explosiveness that other players might have. But he’s having success using his basketball IQ and creativity on the court.

The Mavericks’ latest win came at the expense of the Rockets. Doncic faced off against one of the best case scenarios for his NBA career. Similar to Doncic, James Harden uses creativity and deceptive athleticism to beat his defenders.

Harden finished with a triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 17 assists against the Mavericks. But that wasn’t enough to beat the balanced scoring of Dallas led by Doncic. The rookie finished with 20 points on 54% shooting, six rebounds, and a ton of highlights.

He scored on a Harden-esque step-back jumper to spark the Mavericks’ first half run. He also showcased his athleticism on a one-handed hammer and drilled a buzzer-beating three-point bomb from distance to end the half. The Mavericks took an 18-point lead in the first half and never looked back.

Not a bad start for a kid labelled as too slow and soft for the NBA.

2. Kyle Korver returns to Utah

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on a minor trade today. The Utah Jazz are acquiring Kyle Korver from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Alec Burks and two second round picks.

Korver, used to be an integral part of the Cleveland’s Playoff runs in the past two years. This season, he’s been placed on the shelf by the rebuilding Cavaliers. This season, he’s played only 15 minutes per game in 16 of the team’s 20 games.

The sharpshooter returns to Utah where he spent three years of his career from 2007 to 2010. Back then, Korver came off the bench to provide much-needed outside shooting to space the Jerry Sloan Pick-and-Roll. The Jazz are hoping Korver can bring added spacing to their team with his outside shooting.

The Jazz are one of the worst outside shooting teams in the league averaging only 10 treys per game (23rd) at a 31.9% clip (28th). Korver is a career 43.2% shooter who hits 2.0 treys per game. In limited minutes this season he still managed to nail 1.6 treys per game at a clean 46.1% clip.

The Cavaliers on the other hand get another underused Jazz wing in Alec Burks. But more importantly, they added two draft picks which will help their rebuilding cause.

3. Dame Time sets a franchise record

Damian Lillard continues to set records during his run with the Portland Trail Blazers.

In the game against the Magic today, Lillard drilled 10 three-pointers to set a new franchise record for three-pointers made in a single game. And he did it in only three quarters. Late in the third period, he stepped into a three-pointer off a screen to give the Blazers an 11-point lead. That was his 10th of the game.

Despite Lillard’s scorching performance, the Magic were able to catch up and stick to the Blazers late in the fourth quarter. Portland needed Lillard to activate Dame Time in the final minutes of the game. He nailed a layup in the final minute to deliver the win. He finished with 41 points and eight rebounds.

Lillard’s explosive performance helped the Blazers snap a three-game losing streak.

4. Russell Westbrook ties for third in the All-Time Triple-Double List

Only the Big O and Magic are ahead of Russell Westbrook in the All-Time Triple-Double List. Westbrook recorded his third triple-double of the season, and 107th of his career, tying Jason Kidd for third place on the list. He finished with 23 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists in OKC’s win over Cleveland.

Oscar Robertson leads the list with 181 while Magic Johnson has 138. Westbrook can move into solo third with his next triple-double, although he will have to go on an MVP-like triple-double tear to overtake Johnson this season.

5. Minnesota demolishes San Antonio

The Spurs have real problems this season. They barely got past the Bulls in their last game. They were a Zach LaVine three-pointer away from a loss against a rebuilding team.

They got absolutely spanked when they faced the a Playoff-level team in the Timberwolves. San Antonio was limited to just nine points in the second quarter as Minnesota pulled away for good at that point. Things didn’t get better in the second half with the Wolves running out to a 41-point lead.

Minnesota had to “settle” for a 39-point win.

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