Oct 15, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Jae Crowder (9) boxes out Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) during the fourth quarter at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Rockets 123-104. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t a career night in scoring for Donatas Motiejunas, but it was arguably Donatas Motiejunas best performance thus far. Against the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 30, 2014, Motiejunas broke out every trick in the book against Dirk Nowitzki. He showed some impressive fakes, up and unders, and hit the boards hard, grabbing 13 boards in the contest.
Motiejunas got the best of Shawn Marion, too, driving around the lanky forward for two free throws following a nice pump fake. Running the court, he found passing lanes and finished hard.
Chandler Parsons put the exclamation mark with a jet out dunk, following a Motiejunas rebound and dish, as the Rockets took a six point lead with six minutes to go in the game. Motiejunas closed the game out at the line. Strong defensive rotations by D-Mo and the Rockets led to closing out the missed Devin Harris triple which could have won the game.
It may not have been as flashy as Motiejunas’ 25 point career high, but it was every bit as impressive considering his strong two-way play and great presence on the glass. If D-Mo develops consistency, he may be the first big man off the bench for Kevin McHale. He may even start. He had four games last season in which he grabbed 10 boards or more. What must be mentioned here, however, is that Dirk did have a monster night offensively, scoring 38 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.
Therein lies the mystery with Motiejunas: Can he stop the premier power forwards from lighting him up? It’s a small sample size, but at least he did counter with his offense of his own against Nowitzki. He showed confidence hitting 4-of-6 from the line, and he finished well around the basket, going 4-of-5 from the floor.
It’s just a small preview of what we may see from him this year, but he has to improve that defense.