The Dallas Mavericks found a horrible new way to lose, falling to the Milwaukee Bucks at home on Friday night, losing 106-105. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 28 points after a rocky start. Luka Doncic led the Mavericks in the loss with 33. The Mavericks shot an atrocious 10 of 24 from the free throw line, including a stunning 7 of 15 in the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded leads early, with the Mavericks bombarding from beyond the arc and the Bucks relentlessly attacking the paint. After the Bucks took an 11-10 lead over a Grayson Allen-and-a, the Mavericks pulled off an 8-0 run forcing a timeout in Milwaukee. The Bucks responded with a 7-0 series. Offense continued to be the order of the day, with Luka Doncic scoring 16 in the quarter and Milwaukee responding right away. Dallas led 33-32 at the end of the first quarter.
With Luka Doncic taking his usual rest in the second quarter, the Mavericks opened the quarter holding Milwaukee on several occasions. Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood helped Dallas win the non-Doncic minutes. But when Doncic returned, Dallas’ offense dried up with Milwaukee stopping Dallas’ repeated forays to the rim and the Mavericks blocking many open looks. Milwaukee closed the quarter on a long 12-3 run, which gave them a 52-48 lead in the half.
The second half began with an exchange of points, first by the Mavericks and then back by the Bucks. Dallas took the lead thanks to Doncic’s brilliance, but the Bucks kept coming. A spike from Maxi Kleber, a quick dunk from Luka on Jrue Holiday, and a three from Christian Wood and just like that, the Mavericks were up 12, forcing a timeout from the Bucks. Although Milwaukee once again had an answer for Dallas, the Mavericks pushed hard to close out the quarter and led 84-73 heading into the final period.
Once again, the Mavericks went with a mixed unit to start the fourth, with Doncic on the bench. Antetokounmpo started the quarter after making 5 of 14 shots but started to find the back of the basket. Luckily for Dallas, the combination of Dinwiddie and Wood kept the Dallas offense going for a while, but a few poor possessions allowed the Bucks to quickly tie the game with seven minutes remaining. The teams traded baskets until Giannis picked up his sixth foul against a Tim Hardaway three with 2:55 left in the game. You would have thought Dallas would have won the game, but a parade of missed free throws from every fouling Maverick player resulted in a truly heartbreaking loss. Dallas’ winning streak ends at three, falling to the Bucks at home, 106-105.
Now just one more thought.
Hit. Your. Free. Spear.
It was a really fun game. It should have been a huge, season-defining victory against a fantastic championship-caliber Bucks team. I’d like to talk about Dwight Powell’s hustles play, Maxi Kleber’s trios, Spencer Dinwiddie’s dunks. But that’s the kind of stuff you can talk about in a win.
Instead, we have to talk about Maverick’s free throw woes, which was the only reason they lost that game. In the fourth quarter alone, we witnessed the following failures:
- 6:34 – Spencer Dinwiddie misses the second of two after being fouled on the drive
- 5:21 – Luka Doncic misses the second of two after being fouled on a drive
- 3:41 – Dwight Powell misses the second of two after being fouled on an oop attempt
- 2:55 – Tim Hardaway misses ALL THREE after being fouled by Giannis
- 10 seconds – Dorian Finney Smith misses both after a loose ball foul
Dallas lost by one. As a team, they missed 14 free throws throughout the game! It’s more than ridiculous. Just look at this garbage:
Dallas’ last 6 losses from the FT line
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 10, 2022
It starts and ends with Luka, of course, as he missed six free throws tonight. But Hardaway has now missed five consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter. They are still fourth in the league in attempts per game and 27th in the league in percentage. This is unacceptable. Do better.
What type of defense is it?
What does Luka Doncic do? Why did the technical staff tell him to stay there? Why wouldn’t the Bucks do anything on the edge? What is happening on Earth?
What is upsetting is that we will not get an explanation for this. No one in the media will ask about that end game or what Dallas was thinking. Free throws were the reason the Mavericks lost, but when you see this kind of elaborate play compared to the typical trash can design Dallas uses to get one last shot out of Luka, I want to scream into the void.
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