1. The Mavs opened up the 2015-2016 regular season on Wednesday night with a resounding win in Phoenix, blowing the doors off the Suns in a 111-95 victory. Exceptional guard play, defense and rebounding were the keys to success for the Mavs in this one, as they now sit 1-0 heading into the Staples Center to face the Clippers and DeAndre Jordan (FSSW and 103.3 Radio at 9:30).
The page will turn quickly to that one, so let's quickly work through this one ...
2. Deron Williams started the game extremely hot on the offensive end. He took control early and ran the offense well for the Mavs. Williams finished the game with 12 points and seven assists.
3. There was a scary moment midway through the third quarter however, when Williams left the game after banging knees with Eric Bledsoe. Luckily for the Mavs, he returned to the sidelines and played a few more minutes.
“My knee just buckled,” Williams said via Mavs.com. “I think I got tangled up … and my knee kind of buckled outward. I came back in, but it was pretty sore, and I felt like we had a good handle on the game where it was better for me to go and ice. It wasn’t anything that’s structural or anything, so that’s definitely a positive. And hopefully it’s something that won’t keep me out of any games.”
Williams wants to play tonight; we will monitor.
4. The Big German looked fresh in the season opener hitting on five of 10 from the floor, while scoring 11 points and pulling down nine rebounds. He also had three assists and a block in 21 well-managed minutes.
5. Dallas did an exceptional job in the first half of being aggressive and getting to the line. The pace and style of play Rick Carlisle is going to deploy this season has a chance to make that a consistent thing. ... and it was a multi-fold weapon that might have opponents in foul trouble, as Phoenix was most of the night.
6. Wes Matthews looked solid in his Mavs debut. He was moving around well, and playing with energy and passion. Matthews has made it known he doesn’t want to be labeled as a three-and-D guy, but man, he really does those things well. Matthews finished with nine points and successfully harrassed Markieff Morris.
Oh, and let's not take this for granted. We've been talking about a December debut for Wes due to his Achilles rehab. Wes Matthews laughs at the idea of December.
7. Zaza Pachulia had an impressive night in his Dallas debut as well, finishing with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Now, he didn't shoot well. But the pregame notion some had that Tyson Chandler was going to post a 20/20 against Dallas? Two turnovers and three points for TY.
8. Dwight Powell used his athleticism to his advantage, scoring 12 points and grabbing six boards. His high-energy play can give the Mavs a different dynamic this season if he can play with consistency. ... and while he's not fully suited to be a center, it worked here.
9. Ray Felton’s solid preseason play paid dividends for the 10-year veteran, earning him a start at the 2-guard spot as the Mavs tried to piece together a starting lineup in the absence of Chandler Parsons. Felton finished with 18 points and six assists in 33 minutes, and is our Mavs "Dirkie'' winner on the night.
10. Rick Carlisle had a solid game plan for defending Eric Bledsoe on Wednesday, holding the young guard to 13 points on four of 12 shooting. Of course, good game plans are personnel-based. Dallas' backcourt can feature more two-way guards than we've had here in forever.
11. The Mavs also won the turnover battle in this one, forcing phoenix into 18 giveaways while only giving away eight themselves.
Said Carlisl: "The big key was really keeping our turnovers down. I mean, this team really is great at deflecting and stealing passes and turning them into points. They really kicked our (behinds) in the exhibition game 10 days ago and turned us over 20 times. We knew we had to change that, and guys did a great job adjusting.”
12. Believe it or not, Dallas’s was very stingy on the defensive end, holding the Suns to 39 percent shooting, including 25 percent from three.
13. The Mavs also shot the ball with success, hitting 47.1 percent of their shots. Dirk and co also hit 47.6 percent from long range, and went 21 of 31 from the line.
14. Dallas did a good job of using Tyson Chandler’s aggressiveness against him, getting him into early foul trouble. This allowed the Mavs easier drives to the basket, and helped mask their rebounding disadvantages at times.
15. Dallas did an exceptional job battling on the boards behind solid efforts from Zaza, Dirk and Dwight Powell. I don't know that this is a continuing trend; the Clippers might end it tonight. But it was a treat to get surprised here.
16. Devin Harris helped fill in in D-Will’s absence, and played well contributing 10 points. The backcourt depth of this team is a major advantage.
17. Charlie Villanueva adds a dynamic off the bench for the Mavs when he is in the game, scoring 10 points of his own. Charlie V helped stretch the defense, and was even driving to the basket with success. It appears he can be a reliable scoring punch off the bench for the Mavs this season. ... though as always, we don't love the "green light'' being as green as it was last year.
18. In the end, the Mavs couldn’t have looked any better. They played with efficiency and balance on both ends of the floor, and got contributions from everyone who played meaningful minutes in this one.
“Tremendous team effort,” Carlisle said. “We had eight guys in double figures, I believe, which is going to be one of our calling cards. We’ve got to have balance.''
19. NBA Basketball is officially back, ladies and gentlemen. Did somebody say "celebrate''?
The Dirkie/Player of the game: Raymond Felton. Ray led the team in scoring, and also had six assists. Is Felton going to be a staple in the rotation this year?
Stat(s) of the night: Dallas showed remarkable balance offensively, and had 8 players finish in double figures in this one. This win also moved Rick Carlisle into a tie with Don Nelson as the winningest coach in Dallas Mavericks history. And we already think Rick is Dallas' best coach ever, as explained here.
This game was over when... The Mavs jumped on Phoenix early in the third quarter with an 11-1 run that blew the game wide open.
Should have seen coming... Pace. Dallas moved the ball on the fast break extremely well in this one, finishing 25 fast-break points to the Suns 17.
Couldn't see coming... Ray Felton leading the team in scoring. I don’t think anyone in America outside of Felton himself would have predicted that one.
Best decision: Attacking Tyson Chandler. Getting Tyson in foul trouble early was a big factor in this one. Once Tyson left the game, Dallas was able to get to the basket almost at will. The Mavs finished with 48 points in the paint to the Suns 36.
Head-scratcher: Not too much to complain about for Mavs fans in this one. Except ...
What's next?: The 1-0 Mavs will head to Los Angeles to take on Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan at the Staples Center. Said Carlisle, quickly turning the page: “It’s a great opening-night win for us, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. There’s no doubt about that.''