The Dallas Mavericks and their fans are discovering what UVA fans already knew: Justin Anderson is very good at basketball (and even more entertaining to watch). Anderson earned his second career start for the Mavericks (and his first since November 14th), as coach Rick Carlisle looked to mix things up for a team that had lost 8 of its last 10 games. And he made the most of his opportunity, helping Dallas to a 97-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets. With the win, Dallas improved their record to 36-38, tying the Houston Rockets for the 8-seed in the Western Conference.
Anderson played 24 minutes, scoring 11 points on 5-8 shooting, including 1-3 from behind the arc. He also stuffed his stat line with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. And he did so without turning the ball over and committing just 1 foul, issues that had plagued him early in his pro career. The game marked the third consecutive night that Anderson has logged over 20 minutes and scored in double digits (after doing so just two and three times, respectively, before this week).
Justin didn't just play well; he did it in style. Here he gets up to block Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic in transition. (It's not too different from his block from earlier this week).
And here's a ferocious putback with the Mavs nursing a one point third-quarter lead. Seriously, look where he comes from! As ESPN's Tim MacMahon noted, "a pretty high percentage of Anderson's buckets are highlight reel material." It's fun checking into Mavs Moneyball and seeing Mavs fans discover the revelation that is Justin Anderson.
Finally, even when he's not doing basketball things, Anderson manages to fire everybody up:
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the start was Anderson's first of his career. Thanks to @CavalierCards for the correction.