Game 15: Mavs vs. Spurs

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Smith Jr. Skies For The Two-Hand Jam

Dennis Smith Jr. blows by Pau Gasol for the rim-shaking dunk.

DALLAS — Looking to find success on their own floor with the start of a four-game homestand Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks tried to see how they measure up against the best team record-wise in the Southwest Division.

Welcoming in the division-leading San Antonio Spurs, the Mavericks hoped to rebound from back-to-back losses. The Mavs also tried to seize the first matchup of the season between the in-state rivals, attempting to send a message against a San Antonio squad they’ll see four times before the conclusion of 2017. However, despite a valiant effort and a career-high scoring night for rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks (2-13) would fall to a third straight loss instead following a 97-91 defeat.

“It isn’t anything special they did. We’re just struggling to score,” Smith said after the loss. “We played defense all night. It’s just that offensively we’re struggling to get the ball in the basket.”

Continuing to utilize a starting lineup of Smith, second-year standout Yogi Ferrell, swingman Wesley Matthews, leading scorer Harrison Barnes and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks tried to redeem themselves for Saturday’s 111-104 loss at home to Cleveland and Sunday’s 112-99 defeat in Oklahoma City. Matthews then tried to get on track after a 0-for-9 performance against Oklahoma City, opening the scoring with a three-pointer from the wing.

Barnes lent some assistance with back-to-back scores of his own before two free throws from Matthews gave the Mavs a 9-2 start. A driving two-handed slam by Smith brought the crowd to its feet a short time later to highlight the quarter. However, the Spurs (9-5) would quickly counter with an 11-2 run to take the lead. And after just 6-of-18 shooting in the opening period, the Mavericks trailed 17-16 entering the second quarter.

Starting the second stanza with backup big man Maxi Kleber’s posterizing dunk over Spurs forward Rudy Gay, the Mavs tried to send the momentum in their favor. Kleber continued to step up later in the quarter, rejecting Spurs guard Patty Mills at one end of the floor and converting Nowitzki’s backdoor feed into a two-handed slam. Nowitzki’s three from the top of the key then gave the Mavs a 29-27 edge, forcing a San Antonio timeout with 9:41 left in the first half.

The Spurs surged back with a three from Mills to regained control. Smith then attempted to will his team back in front with his aggressive offensive play. Tempers also got the better Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge during a scrum with Tunisian big man Salah Mejri, leading to a technical foul on the Spurs’ perennial All-Star. Still, behind Mills’ 13-point half, the Spurs took a 44-39 lead into the intermission.

Led by Mills’ 5-of-7 shooting, the Spurs outshot the Mavericks through two quarters, 43.9 percent to 39.5 percent. The Spurs also held a 23-18 rebounding edge, forcing nine Dallas turnovers to seven giveaways of their own.

“Shots were a little short there in the first half, and I thought we did a good job in the second half of mixing up different matchups,” Barnes would later say.

Hoping to end their string of third-quarter collapses, the Mavericks tried to increase their intensity in the second half. Instead, the Spurs kept their foot on the gas as Aldridge took charge inside.

Aldridge’s mid-range jumper gave the Spurs a 54-45 lead from there. Veteran Manu Ginobili put the Spurs up by double digits the next time down the floor. But after Aldridge’s score put the Spurs up by 11 at 58-47 to force a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle with 4:28 left in the third, reserve guard J.J. Barea worked the Dallas deficit down to just two, 62-60, entering the final quarter.

Splitting a pair of free throws to open the fourth-quarter scoring, Matthews brought the Mavericks within one. But after Bryn Forbes’ three-point play over Matthews at the other end, Mills’ triple forced a timeout from Carlisle with the Mavericks down 67-61 and 10:40 left on the game clock.

A three-pointer from Smith to move into double figures kept the Mavs alive later in the quarter. Smith found the bottom of the net again from long range to cut the deficit to three at 74-71. But after Aldridge’s dunk capped an 8-0 San Antonio run, the Spurs held an 80-71 lead with 5:03 left to play.

The Mavericks wouldn’t recover from there, despite the best efforts of Smith down the stretch with 18 points in the fourth quarter.

Scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-of-23 shooting and 5 of 11 from three-point range, Smith led the Mavericks in a losing effort while grabbing six rebounds and dishing two assists. In the process, Smith became the youngest player in franchise history with at least 25 points and five rebounds in a game.

“We’ve got to get something that translates to wins. Whether it’s 27 or seven (points), we’ve got to get some wins. … I’m just trying to make plays to get wins, man. That’s it,” Smith modestly said of his career night.

Barea added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists off the bench, and Barnes finished with 16 points and eight boards in the starting lineup. Nowitzki tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists inside, and Matthews registered 12 points in the first unit.

Aldridge led three Spurs in double figures with a season-high 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting. The Spurs also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 44.3 percent to 40.7 percent, adding a 47-40 rebounding advantage and converting Dallas’ 15 turnovers into 17 points.

“We’ve got to get better,” Nowitzki admitted. “It’s hard to win games if you’re scoring in the 80s, but I liked our defensive effort today against a team that’s constantly moving and usually playing well moving the ball. I thought we stuck with them. It felt like every time we were there, what’s happening in some of these close games is we shoot ourselves in the foot a little bit with bad turnovers, offensive rebounds, putbacks, or brutal turnovers on the other end. We just need to execute a little better when we’re right there.”

“We’ve just got to keep bringing the same kind of fight we brought tonight and we’ve brought really the last three games,” Carlisle added. “I think the last four games our level of fight is really good. We’ve got to get some more shots in, and we’ve got to get off the dribble a little bit. We’re dribbling too much at times, and we’ve got to fight it out on the boards and do a good job with turnovers.”

Note: The Mavericks will now continue their homestand Friday night at American Airlines Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota leads the season series 1-0 after a 112-99 home win on Nov. 4. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Devin Harris (bruised ribs) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

Spurs

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
K. Anderson, SF 33 1-4 0-0 5-6 2 6 8 3 1 2 0 2 9 7
L. Aldridge, PF 35 12-21 0-2 8-10 1 4 5 4 1 2 3 1 12 32
P. Gasol, C 23 1-5 0-2 0-0 1 9 10 4 0 0 3 1 5 2
D. Green, SG 26 2-6 0-3 0-0 0 3 3 1 2 1 1 0 1 4
P. Mills, PG 29 7-13 4-9 1-2 0 3 3 2 4 1 1 1 -7 19
B. Forbes 17 2-5 0-2 0-1 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 2 -3 4
R. Gay 16 1-7 0-1 2-2 2 4 6 2 0 1 3 3 -1 4
B. Paul 9 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 10 2
D. Murray 19 4-7 1-2 1-2 1 6 7 0 0 0 0 3 11 10
J. Lauvergne 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 -10 0
D. Bertans 5 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 5 0
M. Ginobili 16 4-7 1-2 4-4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 -2 13
M. Costello 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Hilliard 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
K. Leonard 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Parker 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. White 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   35-79 6-26 21-27 8 39 47 18 9 7 12 16   97
    44.3% 23.1%                      

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Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
W. Matthews, SF 37 4-11 1-5 3-5 0 4 4 1 1 0 0 6 -11 12
H. Barnes, PF 37 5-16 0-2 6-6 2 6 8 2 3 0 2 4 -2 16
D. Nowitzki, C 28 5-8 1-4 1-1 1 6 7 6 0 1 1 1 1 12
Y. Ferrell, SG 33 0-5 0-4 0-0 1 3 4 2 1 0 3 2 -1 0
D. Smith Jr., PG 36 10-23 5-11 2-2 0 6 6 2 0 0 6 4 -8 27
N. Noel 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 -5 0
J. Barea 26 6-11 3-6 1-1 0 6 6 4 1 0 2 0 -3 16
M. Kleber 20 2-5 0-2 1-1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 5
S. Mejri 14 1-1 0-0 1-2 1 2 3 1 1 2 0 4 -2 3
G. Clavell 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Powell 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Withey 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Curry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Finney-Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Harris 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McRoberts 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Motley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   33-81 10-34 15-18 5 35 40 18 7 4 15 23   91
    40.7% 29.4%                      

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Kleber Finishes With Two-Hand Dunk

Maxi Kleber drives baseline for the jam over Rudy Gay


Dirk 41 Moment #3

Last Game At Reunion Arena May 12, 2001


One-on-one with Yogi Ferrell

Earl K. Sneed goes on-one-on with Mavs G Yogi Ferrell prior to tonight's game against the Spurs.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on tonight's game against San Antonio.

DALLAS — Kick-starting their four-game homestand Tuesday night against the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks say they look forward to renewing the in-state rivalry in the first of four regular-season matchups between the two teams.

Looking to build momentum on their home floor, the Mavericks (2-12) will try to get the better of the rival Spurs (8-5) after dropping the season series 1-3 during the 2016-17 campaign. The Mavs will also try to raise their level of play without the full complement of players, taking the court minus second-year forward Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis), veteran reserve Devin Harris (bruised ribs), combo guard Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) and big man Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury). Still, according to backup point guard J.J. Barea, the Mavericks will attempt to feed off the energy of the spirited crowd to collect a win against their in-state rivals.

“I’ve been through a lot (of games against San Antonio). Both are great cities, great franchises and great teams over the past 10-12 years that I’ve been a part of this, so it’s awesome to see a mix of fans at the games. It’s a great time,” Barea said while speaking of the rivalry with the Spurs.

“They’ve always been really good, and we were catching up,” he added. “We got there, so it’s been two great teams battling in the same state. It’s a Texas battle, so it’s always fun.”

Like the Mavericks, the Spurs are playing without their full roster intact after injuries to perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy) and Tony Parker (left quadriceps tendon surgery). However, with their two leaders sidelined, the Spurs have been able to remain afloat through the play of their twin towers inside of big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. The Spurs have also continued to get a boost from their supporting cast. And according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, his team will have to prepare for the Spurs’ unsung heroes heading into Tuesday’s game.

“Well, they’ve got many good players. Aldridge and Gasol have been very good, and their guard play has been consistent,” Carlisle said with a great amount of respect for the Spurs. “They’re shooting the ball really well, and Rudy Gay has given them a big lift. And they do a great job of fitting guys into their system and just keep chugging forward, so it’s always a tough game. That’s a constant, and whoever they throw out there goes hard and plays the system real well, so it will be tough.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Devin Harris (bruised ribs) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

DALLAS — Opening a four-game homestand Tuesday night after a sluggish start to the 2017-18 season on their own floor, the Dallas Mavericks will attempt to begin surging up the standings against the Southwest Division rival San Antonio Spurs.

Welcoming in the division-leading Spurs (8-5) in the first meeting between the in-state rivals, the Mavericks (2-12) will try to strike first in the four-game season series. The Mavs will also attempt to make American Airlines Center a hostile venue against likely playoff contenders during the next four outings, hosting the Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics during that span. Meanwhile, the Mavericks will find themselves squaring off with the Spurs four times before the close of the 2017 portion of the schedule, playing twice in November and two more times in December. And after seeing his team go 1-3 against the Spurs while dropping both games at home last season, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is hopeful the Dallas squad can defend its own backyard Tuesday night.

“You want to get a good start. Last year was as tough as it gets. We’ve got to really compete hard. And yes, we want to get off to a lot better start than last year. It is important, and you want to set a tone to your season, but it’s work. You don’t just show up and win because you’re at home,” Carlisle confessed.

The Mavericks will try to put together a strong four quarters on their home hardwood as the rivalry with the Spurs is renewed. However, after back-to-back collapses in the third quarter of their last two games, the Mavs admit that putting together 48 quality minutes is easier said than done.

Outscored 34-22 in the third period Saturday at home against Cleveland, the Mavericks fell to a hard-fought 111-104 defeat. The story was the same the following night in Oklahoma City, as the Mavs were outscored 39-25 by the Thunder in the third period before eventually suffering a 112-99 road loss. All told, the Mavericks have been outscored by opponents 401-321 in the third period through their first 14 games. That said, the Mavs know they will have to find a way to sustain their first-half success in order to seize a win Tuesday night.

“I felt like sometimes we just kind of got stagnant,” Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes said of the third-quarter struggles. “We didn’t really get much out of our possessions. And when you’re going up against a team that can really get out in transition, can go and attack, I thought that was where our breakdowns were.

“We just have to do a better job of just keying into those guys,” Barnes added. “Any time you allow 39 points in a quarter, it’s going to be hard to win. And that’s what happened.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — questionable
Devin Harris (bruised ribs) — questionable
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out