Game 16: Mavs vs. Timberwolves

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Harris Lobs To Powell

Devin Harris lobs to Dwight Powell for a two-handed throwdown.

DALLAS — In need of a spark after dropping their previous three games, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to draw inspiration from an unexpected source Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Playing the second outing of their current four-game homestand and the first matchup of a home-home back-to-back, the Mavericks tried to bring their losing skid to an abrupt end. The Mavs also attempted to avenge a 112-99 road loss in Minnesota on Nov. 4, looking to return the favor as the scene shifted to their home floor Friday night. Meanwhile, the Mavericks sent out their seventh different starting lineup of the young season, inserting German big man Maxi Kleber into the first unit. But after leading by as many as 14, the Mavericks (2-14) would succumb to another third-quarter collapse before falling to a 111-87 loss on their home floor.

“We just struggled in the third,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle matter-of-factly said after the loss. “You know, we scored the first two points to go up 14, and that was great. And then things just went downhill. I know we had quite a few good looks that didn’t go down. I haven’t looked at the film yet, so I don’t have a really accurate analysis of everything. But third quarters have been a challenge for us in many instances, and this was another night where we needed to be a lot better.”

Sliding Kleber into the starting lineup alongside fellow rookie Dennis Smith Jr., swingman Wesley Matthews, leading scorer Harrison Barnes and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks tried to come out aggressively in front of their hometown fans. Barnes then got the Mavs out early with the opening score, leading to Matthews’ three-pointer from the wing and a 5-0 Dallas start.

Another triple would follow from Matthews a short time later, but it was immediately answered by Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns’ thunderous three-point play at the other end of the floor. The Mavericks countered with Smith’s driving slam to give the home team an 18-13 advantage. The Dallas reserves pushed the lead to double digits from there before taking a 29-24 margin into the second stanza.

Starting the second quarter with a jumper from Nowitzki to pass Hakeem Olajuwon (10,749) for eighth on the NBA’s all-time field goals made list, the Mavericks kept their foot on the gas. Nowitzki also stayed aggressive in the quarter, connecting on a three from the wing to put the Mavs up 38-26.

Barnes followed suit with a three-pointer of his own later in the quarter as the Mavs surged ahead by 14, 43-29. But after back-to-back threes from All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler and point guard Jeff Teague cut the Mavs’ lead to six, the Timberwolves (10-5) tried to close the first half strong. Barnes’ 15 first-half points kept the Timberwolves at bay, however, sending the Mavericks into the intermission with a 55-43 edge.

Led by Barnes’ 5-of-10 shooting, the Mavericks outshot the Timberwolves through two quarters, 43.2 percent to 31.8 percent. The Mavs also held a 27-21 rebounding edge while both teams committed four turnovers in the first half.

“We were great in the first half, and then everybody struggled in the second. You can’t point towards one group. Everybody struggled, and it’s all of us. We all own that second half,” Carlisle foreshadowed.

Draining a jumper to move into double figures early in the second half, Nowitzki looked to go on the attack in the third quarter. Instead, the Timberwolves began to stage a rally, pulling to within four at 59-55 after former No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins’ three with 7:26 left in the third.

The Timberwolves charged to within two as Wiggins upped his aggression later in the quarter. A three-pointer from Teague put the visiting Timberwolves ahead 62-61 from there. Butler’s four-point play over Matthews gave the Timberwolves a seven-point edge a short time later. But after Tunisian center Salah Mejri’s rejection of Towns sent the momentum back in the Mavericks’ direction, a pair of threes from veteran reserve guards J.J. Barea and Devin Harris brought Dallas back within one, 70-69. Wiggins and the Timberwolves then escaped into the fourth with a 74-72 edge under their belt.

“I’ve got to look at the film and see what happened in the third,” Carlisle confessed. “You know, I know Dennis got in a couple of tough situations, and we had some other guys that missed some shots they normally make, but I’ve got to look at it.”

Tying the game with a jumper to open the final period, Nowitzki again tried to will his team in front on the scoreboard. Mejri also continued to provide a boost off the bench, skying for a putback slam off Barea’s missed jumper to keep the Mavericks even on the scoreboard.

However, after seven straight Minnesota points from veteran sixth man Jamal Crawford, the Timberwolves surged back in front. A three-pointer from Nemanja Bjelica then gave the Timberwolves an 86-78 advantage, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with 7:35 left to play. The stoppage didn’t stop the Timberwolves from taking a 93-78 advantage after back-to-back threes from Butler and Teague to cap a 17-2 Minnesota run. And after Butler’s three-point play with 3:51 remaining to put the Timberwolves up 100-80, Carlisle began to empty his bench while finishing out the loss with the Dallas reserves.

Scoring 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting, Barnes grabbed six rebounds to lead the Mavericks in a losing effort. Nowitzki finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in the first unit. Meanwhile, reserve Yogi Ferrell was the only other Mav in double figures, scoring 10 points off the bench.

“They didn’t really do anything special defensively. We were getting a lot of open shots. We just didn’t capitalize. We came out sluggish in the third, and they took advantage of it,” Smith admitted after scoring just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting in the loss.

Butler led six Timberwolves in double figures with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing four assists to boot. The Timberwolves also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 46.4 percent to 37.2 percent, adding a 48-41 rebounding advantage and converting Dallas’ 11 turnovers into 19 points to overcome their own 10 giveaways.

“Well, you know, the opposing team is usually stepping up the pressure, and they’re just picking up more and getting more aggressive on the ball and swarming a little more. We just haven’t responded well to it,” Nowitzki said after the Mavericks were outscored 68-32 in another sluggish second half. “I think our offense dried up a little bit, and that affected our defense, unfortunately. I thought we had some good looks, but we missed like 30 threes. Twenty of them were really good looks, but it was just one of those nights were a couple of guys together couldn’t really get it going. It was unfortunate.”

Note: The Mavericks will now continue their homestand Saturday night at American Airlines Center against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game will tip off at 8 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

Timberwolves

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
A. Wiggins, SF 36 7-15 2-5 3-4 1 4 5 1 3 0 1 2 22 19
T. Gibson, PF 33 2-5 0-0 6-6 3 8 11 2 0 0 1 0 21 10
K. Towns, C 37 5-10 1-4 4-5 2 9 11 2 1 0 2 4 23 15
J. Butler, SG 37 8-19 3-5 2-2 0 8 8 4 2 0 1 2 21 21
J. Teague, PG 32 6-11 3-6 0-0 1 3 4 10 0 0 3 2 24 15
T. Jones 15 1-4 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 4 0 0 0 2 0 2
N. Bjelica 12 3-4 1-2 0-0 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 1 7 7
G. Dieng 10 1-5 0-1 2-2 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 1 4
J. Crawford 12 4-6 2-3 2-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 12
S. Muhammad 7 0-2 0-2 1-2 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 -7 1
A. Brooks 2 1-2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 3
M. Georges-Hunt 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
C. Aldrich 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Brown 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Patton 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   39-84 13-30 20-23 11 37 48 27 7 0 10 18   111
    46.4% 43.3%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 33 6-16 1-5 5-6 2 4 6 0 1 0 1 1 -25 18
M. Kleber, PF 27 0-3 0-2 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 0 1 2 -19 0
D. Nowitzki, C 24 6-12 1-5 2-2 0 7 7 1 0 0 0 2 -4 15
W. Matthews, SG 33 3-11 2-7 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 1 1 2 -19 8
D. Smith Jr., PG 27 3-12 0-4 2-2 2 3 5 4 1 0 3 2 -16 8
Y. Ferrell 22 4-7 2-4 0-1 0 4 4 0 0 0 2 1 -7 10
S. Mejri 17 2-3 0-1 2-2 2 4 6 3 1 2 0 2 -5 6
J. Barea 20 2-9 1-6 2-2 0 1 1 4 0 0 1 2 -10 7
D. Harris 14 3-7 1-3 2-2 2 1 3 4 0 0 2 4 -3 9
D. Powell 6 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
A. Cleveland 6 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 -7 2
N. Noel 5 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 -9 2
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
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   32-86 8-38 15-17 11 30 41 18 3 3 11 20   87
    37.2% 21.1%                      

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Smith Jr. Drives For The Dunk

Dennis Smith Jr. blows by Taj Gibson and finishes with a dunk along the baseline.


Circus Shot By Ferrell

Yogi Ferrell throws up a wild shot while falling down after contact yet the ball somehow still bounces in for a three-point play.


Mejri Blocks Towns

Salah Mejri meets Karl-Anthony Towns at the rim and denies Towns' dunk attempt.


Mejri Cleans Up The Glass

Salah Mejri follows the missed shot by JJ Barea and throws down a two-handed putback jam.


Dirk 41 Moments #25

Dirk Hits Buzzer-beater vs Bucks in Overtime

DALLAS — Falling to a 112-99 loss at Minnesota the last time they squared off against the Timberwolves (9-5) back on Nov. 4, the Dallas Mavericks will now look to return the favor Friday night at American Airlines Center.

Despite a dazzling performance from rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks (2-13) didn’t have enough firepower to keep pace with the high-octane Timberwolves in the first meeting of the season between the teams earlier this month. Smith scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter of the defeat to complete a 7-of-15 shooting performance while going 3 of 5 from three-point range in a losing effort. Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes added 17 points in the first unit, helping the Dallas team work out of a 28-point deficit. Meanwhile, big man Karl-Anthony Towns led four Timberwolves in double figures with a game-high 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting, grabbing 12 rebounds to boot. Former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins added 23 points to make up for new addition Jimmy Butler’s four-point performance on 1-of-7 shooting. Now, despite their current three-game losing streak, the Mavs will try to get even in the season series Friday night as the scene shifts to their home hardwood.

“We’ve just got to keep bringing the same kind of fight we brought and we’ve brought really the last three games,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle explained. “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.

“[The Timberwolves] are getting better each year,” the coach added. “The addition of a couple of really good, high-level veteran players with Butler and (Taj) Gibson really stabilizes their situation. You know, Towns has gotten better, Wiggins has gotten better, and (Jeff) Teague has been a really, really good addition to their team as well. Now, they can bring some of their younger guys off the bench, like (Shabazz) Muhammad and (Tyus) Jones. (Nemanja) Bjelica is not that young, but he’s a second- or third-year guy, and he’s playing very well. So, look, their record is good. They’ve won impressively both at home and on the road. They handled us pretty easily last time and really hurt us on the boards, forced turnovers and blocked shots, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The Timberwolves outshot the Mavericks during the first matchup between the teams, 54.4 percent to 46.5 percent, adding a 48-31 rebounding advantage and converting Dallas’ 16 turnovers into 23 points. Looking to better prepare for the Timberwolves’ young core the second time around, the Mavs will now try to contain the duo of Towns and Wiggins in the first outing of a home-home back-to-back that concludes Saturday against Milwaukee. The Mavs will also attempt to hold the Timberwolves’ supporting cast in check while keeping Butler from playing at an All-Star level. However, according to 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, that will be easier said than done. And with the Mavericks hopeful to move to 1-1 on their current four-game homestand, Nowitzki fully expects his team to be a 48-minute battle.

“I mean, it’s tough. If you concentrate too much (on Towns and Wiggins), Jimmy Butler is a heck of a player, so they’ve got tons of players that can hurt you,” Nowitzki explained. “We’re going to try to make it hard. They’re going to score some, ‘cause they’re incredible, but you’ve got to try to limit the easy ones. All the marches to the foul line, that’s easy points — layups, putback dunks and lobs. Wiggins had one or two lobs, so we’ve got to keep them out of transition and just make them take tough shots. That’s all you can do, and great players are going to make tough shots. Sometimes you have to just tip your hat and go back at them at the other end, making them play some defense and just try to compete. We’ll see how it goes, but like I said, they have some incredible talent that they’ve added over the summer, and they’re a really good team.”

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