Despite what happened, Christian Wood is keeping his head high of finally posting his first official game as a Dallas Maverick.
Sporting a newfound Sixth Man role for the title heavyweight, Wood flirted with an efficient 25 points, eight boards, and two assists in over 24 minutes of play in his debut against the Phoenix Suns. 16 of these collective marks came from a late splendid personal stretch to maintain the hold of Dallas to its double-digit margin.
But things didn’t go well as planned, as the Suns kept their foot on the gas pedal and blaze off for a pivotal blitz to grab a convincing 107-105 dub, thanks to the unexpected heroics of Damion Lee who dropped all of his 11 points in the game on the closing salvo.
“We just didn’t close the game out,” Wood said, via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “We got a little complacent. They started coming out the second half, and we knew they were going to punch us in the mouth in the second half, and they did just that.”
For several spectators, the decision of head coach Jason Kidd to appoint Maxi Kleber to the court over Wood during the Phoenix continuing rally inflicted the Mavs’ chances to seal the game.
But for the high-scoring big man who was acquired by the Mavericks last offseason from the Houston Rockets, his unexpected sitting serves as a stepping stone to continue building that trust and belief by his teammates.
“I’m just happy to be a part of this team,” Wood told reporters about his reaction to being benched late (h/t ESPN’s Tim MacMahon). “Late in games, it’s just a trust thing. I have to build the trust with this team. I’m on a new team. Once I do that, I think we’ll be good.”
Wood has been turning heads around due to his positivity, maturity, and professionalism since being absorbed by the Mavericks. He was slated by Kidd to lead the team’s second unit, a big adjustment from what he used to be as the talented lead man of the Rockets for the past two seasons.
Certainly, the Mavericks can only hope that the big man will continue to develop so that Luka Doncic will finally gain an All-star teammate for the first time in his side.