Final: Mavs 111, Hawks 113
Behind the Box Score
Tonight was the first game of Dirk Nowitzki’s 20th season, and the German became just the second player ever to play as many seasons for just one team, joined only by Kobe Bryant. The legend has etched his name in the history books once again, this time joining probably the single-most exclusive club in pro sports.
Dennis Smith Jr. became the youngest player in franchise history to start a game (Dirk was the previous youngest) and the second-youngest to ever appear in a game for the Mavericks. It’s important to remember throughout this season that he’s only 19 years old. There will be ups and there will be downs, but it’s already clear that there’s plenty to be excited about.
This play more than any other demonstrates his ability to lead an offense. It’s not always about doing cool, flashy stuff. Sometimes it’s just about the simple matter of accepting defensive pressure and finding the open man. Smith probably isn’t going to see this kind of aggressive coverage all too often because he’s not the kind of player who’s going to crumble under all of this attention. Plus, he’s playing with guys who can knock down open shots. But seeing him able to do it is encouraging.
Smith very briefly left the floor with a trainer before returning to the bench just a few seconds afterward.
The Mavs (0-1) will play the Sacramento Kings (0-0) on Friday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.