Dennis Smith Jr. Drops 21 Pts
Dennis Smith Jr. goes for 21 points and six assist in the Mavericks outing against the Lakers.
LAS VEGAS — Entering Sunday’s semifinals matchup of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League without a blemish through their first five outings, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to continue trending in the right direction while earning a spot in the championship game with another win.
Looking to build on Saturday’s dominant 91-74 win over Boston in the quarterfinals, the No. 3-seeded Mavericks tried to cool down the streaking Lakers in front of the Las Vegas crowd. The Mavs also hoped first-round draft pick Dennis Smith Jr. could bounce back after a 1-of-6 shooting performance in Saturday’s win, setting the stage for his head-to-head matchup against No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball at the point guard position. But despite another impressive showing from Smith and a second-half rally after trailing by as many as 26, the Mavs would come up on the losing side. And following a 108-98 defeat, the Mavericks (5-1) saw their summer-league championship hopes come to an abrupt end.
“We showed a lot of fight,” Smith said after the heartbreaking loss. “You know, we made a great comeback, but it was a great lead we had to come back from. We showed a lot of heart in the second half.”
Sticking with a starting lineup of Smith, second-year standout Yogi Ferrell, Argentine swingman Nicolas Brussino, versatile forward Dorian Finney-Smith and center Brandon Ashley, the Mavericks would find themselves in an early 5-0 hole after Ball opened the scoring with a three-pointer. Smith then did his best to rally the Mavs with a driving score to get Dallas on the board. And after a pair of three-point bombs from Brussino, the Mavericks drew even on the scoreboard at 10-all.
However, the Lakers (5-2) quickly charged back ahead with a 9-0 run of their own as Ball stayed on the attack. The Mavericks countered by putting the ball back in the hands of the Smith, who upped his aggression in the quarter and quickly moved into double figures. Still, despite Smith’s 12 points in the period to match Ball at the other end, the Mavs trailed 34-24 entering the second stanza.
Opening the second quarter with a three from swingman Carrick Felix, the Mavericks tried to stage a comeback before the end of the half. Smith also continued to supply the offense for the Mavs, swishing a patented fadeaway jumper in the lane to match Ball’s aggressiveness. But after a three-pointer from Lakers forward Matt Thomas, the Mavericks trailed 42-29 with 7:38 left in the half.
Another three from Thomas would follow a short time later to keep the two teams separated by double digits. Ball took matters from there while operating as a scorer and facilitator to put the Lakers up by 20, 54-34. The deficit reached 26 later in the quarter. And despite a buzzer-beating jumper by Finney-Smith to close the half, the Mavericks limped into the intermission down 62-40.
Surrendering 10-of-13 shooting from behind the three-point arc, the Mavericks were outshot as a team from the field in the first half, 69.7 percent to 35.9 percent. The Lakers also out-rebounded the Mavs in the half, 22-12, overshadowing Smith’s 14 points through two quarters.
“You know, part of it was our defense, and part of it was they got hot,” Mavs summer-league head coach Jamahl Mosley said while breaking down the first half. “They started out very comfortable in their shots. I don’t think they felt us in the beginning of the game. And when you’re comfortable shooting, the basket gets bigger and bigger. I think that’s what happened, and then we were playing catch-up for the rest of the game.”
Pressing fullcourt to begin the second half, the Mavericks tried to fight their way back into the game at the defensive end. Meanwhile, Smith once again provided the offense, highlighting the third quarter with an emphatic slam after a drive down the lane.
Smith continued to attack later in the period, converting another drive with an athletic layup to trim the disadvantage to 16, 64-48, with 7:12 left in the quarter. A pair of dunks from backup big man Johnathan Motley brought the Mavs even closer on the scoreboard. But after Motley and the Mavericks charged to within 12, the Lakers surged back comfortable ahead thanks to Kyle Kuzma’s four-point play over Ding Yanyuhang. The best efforts of Smith and Finney-Smith would then prove to be too little as the Lakers escaped into the fourth quarter ahead by 17, 84-67.
Beginning the fourth quarter with a triple from Thomas, the Lakers again opened up a 20-point lead. The Lakers also played on without Ball, who sat out the final quarter after an apparent right calf injury in the third period.
The Mavericks then began to take advantage of Ball’s absence, charging to within 11, 94-83, with 5:48 remaining after back-to-back scores by Ashley inside. A three by Ferrell followed as the Mavs crept to within single digits later in the period. Dallas slowly worked its deficit down to four before a three-pointer by reserve guard Corey Webster brought the Mavericks to within one, 96-95, with 2:17 left to play. But after Smith split a pair of free throws, the Lakers would create some separation following Thomas’ sixth three-pointer of the night with 1:42 remaining. The Lakers then put the Mavericks away at the foul line, padding their lead with clutch strokes from the charity stripe down the stretch.
Scoring 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, Smith added three rebounds, six assists and two steals in a losing effort. Ferrell pitched in 15 points in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Finney-Smith and Ashley added 13 points apiece. Brussino made it all five Dallas starters in double figures with 11 points in the first unit.
“I grew a lot. I learned a lot about the NBA game,” Smith said after averaging 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals in the Mavs’ six games. “It’s just a tough loss for us. Individual things don’t matter. You know, I’m just moving on from summer league now and getting ready for training camp.”
Kuzma led five Lakers in double figures with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The Lakers also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 60.7 percent to 42.4 percent, hitting 17 of 22 from behind the arc as a team to overcome Dallas’ 34-32 rebounding edge and their own 21 turnovers.
“There’s two ways you can go,” Mosley said after the comeback fell short. “You know, you can quit, or you can say, ‘It’s just not our night, and we’re not making shots.’ But our guys never gave in. I think that’s a testament to the way they play, that’s a testament to the organization, and what we demand out of guys. You know, that’s why they have Mavericks across their shirts.”
|K. Kuzma, F||32||8-14||5-7||3-3||0||5||5||2||1||1||4||1||7||24|
|M. Thomas, F||35||7-10||6-7||0-0||0||3||3||1||0||0||7||3||2||20|
|I. Zubac, C||20||5-7||0-0||2-2||2||5||7||0||0||2||0||4||4||12|
|V. Blue, G||36||5-10||2-3||5-10||1||4||5||6||0||0||4||4||13||17|
|L. Ball, G||21||5-7||2-3||4-5||0||4||4||10||1||0||0||1||17||16|
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|D. Finney-Smith, F||30||4-14||1-5||4-4||3||4||7||4||3||0||0||2||7||13|
|N. Brussino, F||19||3-6||3-5||2-2||0||5||5||0||1||0||0||3||-7||11|
|B. Ashley, C||17||6-11||0-1||1-2||2||2||4||0||1||2||2||6||14||13|
|Y. Ferrell, G||33||6-19||3-7||0-0||0||1||1||5||2||0||0||1||-6||15|
|D. Smith Jr., G||29||7-13||0-1||7-10||2||1||3||6||2||0||3||4||-10||21|
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Dennis Smith Jr. Jam
Dennis Smith Jr. throws down the monster jam at the 3017 Summer League in Las Vegas.
Postgame: Jamahl Mosley
Mavs coach Jamahl Mosley evaluates his team's performance in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Handle of the Night – Yogi Ferrell
Yogi Ferrell shakes the defender with the hesitation move then gets to the rim for the score.
Dennis Smith Jr. Turnaround Jumper
Dennis Smith Jr. backs into the lane and then finishes with the turnaround jumper at the 2017 Summer League in Las Vegas.