Game 17: Mavs vs. Bucks

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GAME RECAP: Mavericks 111, Bucks 79

Dallas ties a franchise record by connecting on 19 three-pointers as the Mavericks defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-79.

DALLAS — Still feeling the disappointment of Friday’s 111-87 loss to Minnesota in the second outing of their current four-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks tried to bounce back just 24 hours later in front of their faithful fans.

Completing a rare home-home back-to-back, the Mavericks returned to their own hardwood Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Mavs also attempted to slow down the NBA’s No. 2 scorer this season, hosting early-season MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and the up-and-coming Bucks. And while not allowing Antetokounmpo to have a big night, the Mavericks (3-14) cured their recent second-half woes while cruising to a 111-79 victory.

“We were getting stops and we were moving it. We didn’t have to call many plays, ’cause we were getting stops and we were playing basketball,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews said after leading the Mavs to the win.

Sticking with the starting lineup of rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., Matthews, leading scorer Harrison Barnes, German first-year forward Maxi Kleber and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks faced a bit of adversity after the opening tipoff as Bucks newcomer Eric Bledsoe hooked up with big man John Henson for an alley-oop connection on the first possession. The Mavs quickly responded, however, tying the game after Nowitzki’s bullet pass inside to Kleber for a three-point play.

A three-pointer from Matthews put the Mavs on top a short time later. Barnes upped his aggression from there as the Mavs tried to build an early advantage. An alley-oop connection from veteran reserve Devin Harris to backup big man Dwight Powell kept the momentum in the Mavericks’ favor during the quarter. And behind 15 combined points from the duo of Matthews and Powell, the Mavs led by as many as 11 before taking a 33-24 advantage into the second stanza.

Opening the second-quarter scoring with a three-pointer by Nowitzki for the 1,800th triple of his illustrious career, the Mavericks tried to keep their foot on the gas. An above-the-rim finish by Tunisian center Salah Mejri followed later in the period in transition to keep the teams separated by double figures.

Mejri’s rejection of a driving Antetokounmpo brought the crowd out of its seats from there, leading to Smith’s three-pointer and a 45-32 lead. Barnes followed suit with a three of his own to move into double figures and put the Mavs up by 16. Veteran guard J.J. Barea took matters from there, swishing back-to-back triples to put the Mavericks up 54-39 with 2:03 left in the first half. The Mavs then slid into the halftime intermission with a 56-44 margin under their belt.

Led by Barnes’ 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting, the Mavericks outshot the Bucks (8-7) through two quarters, 47.5 percent to 42.9 percent. The Mavs also battled the Bucks to a 22-22 rebounding stalemate, hitting 8 of 17 from behind the three-point arc in the half to hold the double-digit lead.

“It was solid. I think the energy was there. You know, we were containing guys and keeping them outside the paint, and that worked tonight,” Barea explained.

Attempting to keep Antetokounmpo under wraps, the Mavericks tried to up their defensive intensity in the second half. Matthews also tried to supply the offense, swishing a corner three-pointer to give the Mavs a 61-44 advantage.

“We were playing basketball. We were moving. I was doing a lot of random movement, and that’s when I’m at my best,” Matthews would later say.

However, the Mavericks’ offensive attack would soon grow stagnant as the turnovers piled up. Meanwhile, the duo of Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton brought their team within single digits at 63-54, forcing a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle with 8:29 left in the third period. The Mavericks immediately responded with back-to-back threes from Barea and Matthews to keep the Bucks at bay. And after another three from Matthews to beat the shot clock gave the Mavs an 18-point advantage, the swingman’s lob pass to Smith for the emphatic slam and sixth trey of the night sent the home team into the fourth with an 82-61 lead.

The Mavericks never looked back from there, leading by as many as 32 in the final quarter en route to the win.

Scoring a season-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 6 of 8 from three-point range, Matthews also grabbed two rebounds and dished a season-best eight assists to boot. Barea added a season-high 20 points off the bench, handing out seven assists of his own. Meanwhile, Barnes added 18 points and seven rebounds in the first unit. Reserve guard Yogi Ferrell made it four Mavs in double figures with 16 points off the bench.

“I think we just had more energy and were playing harder,” Barea proclaimed. “We didn’t stop moving, and that’s how we’ve got to play. It was not a lot of play-calling today. Our defense was better, so we didn’t have to call that much plays. But everybody moved and passed the ball, and we made shots at the end.”

Antetokounmpo led two Bucks in double figures with 24 points on 7-of-20 shooting, grabbing 17 boards as well. However, the Mavericks outshot the Bucks for the game, 48.1 percent to 37.8 percent, adding a 49-38 rebounding advantage while overcome their 18 turnovers for 22 Milwaukee points.

“We moved the ball great,” Carlisle concluded. “Our two days of practice, a lot of it was about ball movement and staying off the dribble. We did it really well in the first half of the Minnesota game, and in the second half we got really stagnant. So, tonight we really sustained it for four quarters, and you have to against Milwaukee because of the switching, the length and all that stuff.”

“Everybody feels good. Aches don’t hurt as much, and you just feel better about everything that you’ve done,” Matthews said after the victory. “You know, you don’t need moral victories. You’ve got the real one, and you’ve got the one you’re supposed to get. We can actually see everything that we’ve been trying to do come together, and hopefully that just carries the momentum into the off day where everybody’s feeling good. You know, we’ve got another tough battle Monday against Boston, who is the hottest team in the league right now, but it’s another opportunity for us.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their homestand Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Boston Celtics. 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
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

Bucks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
K. Middleton, SF 32 9-12 3-5 2-2 0 0 0 2 1 0 2 5 -25 23
G. Antetokounmpo, PF 39 7-20 1-2 9-13 5 12 17 2 3 0 3 5 -18 24
J. Henson, C 20 1-2 0-0 3-10 0 2 2 0 0 1 1 2 -4 5
T. Snell, SG 32 3-6 2-5 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 1 1 3 -19 8
E. Bledsoe, PG 21 2-10 0-3 2-2 0 4 4 4 1 0 2 4 -9 6
M. Brogdon 32 2-9 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 2 -22 4
T. Maker 24 1-6 0-2 0-0 2 5 7 1 0 1 1 1 -28 2
D. Liggins 18 1-5 0-3 1-2 0 1 1 2 2 0 1 2 -30 3
G. Payton II 4 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 -5 0
D. Wilson 3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Vaughn 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
J. Bolomboy 3 1-1 0-0 0-2 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 2
J. Terry 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2
S. Brown 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Dellavedova 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Parker 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Teletovic 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   28-74 6-25 17-31 8 30 38 13 8 5 13 25   79
    37.8% 24.0%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 32 5-11 2-4 6-6 0 7 7 1 1 0 4 3 21 18
M. Kleber, PF 9 2-3 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 -2 5
D. Nowitzki, C 24 3-8 1-3 0-0 1 6 7 4 1 0 1 3 17 7
W. Matthews, SG 33 8-14 6-8 0-0 0 2 2 8 2 0 0 1 17 22
D. Smith Jr., PG 21 2-8 1-4 0-0 0 4 4 2 1 1 4 3 13 5
Y. Ferrell 32 6-8 3-5 1-2 0 4 4 1 0 0 1 2 23 16
D. Powell 24 3-6 0-2 2-3 4 9 13 0 0 0 1 2 28 8
J. Barea 23 5-10 4-7 6-7 1 2 3 7 0 0 3 2 19 20
D. Harris 19 2-7 2-4 0-0 0 3 3 1 1 0 0 4 24 6
S. Mejri 6 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 1 0 2 0 2
N. Noel 3 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
J. Withey 3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
A. Cleveland 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 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   38-79 19-38 16-19 7 42 49 27 7 2 16 26   111
    48.1% 50.0%                      

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Mejri Blocks Antetokounmpo

Salah Mejri chases down Giannis Antetokounmpo and swats his layup off the backboard.


Matthews Rainbow Three

Wesley Matthews dribbles into the corner before stepping back and connecting on a rainbow three-pointer at the end of the shot clock.


Smith Jr. Oops The Alley

Wesley Matthews lobs to Dennis Smith Jr. who rises up to finish with a two-handed jam.


Barea Beats The Buzzer

Dirk Nowitzki saves the ball from going out of bounds by passing to J.J. Barea who drains a deep three-pointer at the end of the shot clock.


Block of the Night: Salah Mejri

Salah Mejri storms in to block Giannis Antetokounmpo from behind.


Postgame: Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavs G Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on Saturday's 111-79 win over the Bucks.


Postgame: J.J. Barea

Mavs G J.J. Barea dishes on Saturday's 111-79 win over the Bucks.


Postgame: Wesley Matthews

Mavs G Wesley Matthews dishes on Saturday's 111-79 win over the Bucks.


Dirk 41 Moments #16

Records First Career Triple-double

DALLAS — After continuing a string of sluggish starts to the second halves of games during Friday’s 111-87 lopsided loss against Minnesota to begin a rare home-home back-to-back, the Dallas Mavericks will try to put together a complete 48 minutes just 24 hours later.

Outscored 68-32 in the second half by the Timberwolves during Friday’s loss, the Mavericks (2-14) fell to their fourth straight loss overall. The Mavs also slipped to 0-2 during their current four-game homestand, failing to make up ground in the standings in front of their own fans. Now, the Mavericks will attempt to right the ship against early-season MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. And according to 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs will have to be prepared for the Bucks’ second-half pressure in order to escape their home hardwood with a win.

“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 passing Hakeem Olajuwon (10,749) for eighth on the NBA’s all-time field goals made list with 15 points and seven rebounds during Friday’s loss. “I think our offense dried up a little bit (on Friday), 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.”

The Mavs didn’t see Antetokounmpo during their last-second 106-104 exhibition victory over the Bucks (8-6) back on Oct. 2, rallying from a 13-point deficit to seize the win on two-way contract signee Johnathan Motley’s score with 4.7 seconds remaining. Still, the Mavericks are well aware that they will face the daunting task of slowing Antetokounmpo down Saturday night at American Airlines Center in a game that will actually count in the standings.

On the season, Antetokounmpo has emerged as the No. 2 scorer in the NBA at 30.6 points per game while trying to lead the Bucks into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Meanwhile, the Bucks bolstered their offensive attack earlier this month by trading with Phoenix to acquire point guard Eric Bledsoe. And with the Milwaukee team viewed by many as the up-and-coming team in the East, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows his squad is in for a dogfight while completing a home-home back-to-back.

“Well, we’re going to have to go hard,” Carlisle confessed while assessing the Bucks this preseason. “I want to see us execute basic things well, take care of the ball, get back and guard. You know, it’s pretty basic stuff, and Milwaukee is a team that’s been vastly improving over the last couple of years. We had two very hotly, competitive games against them in preseason last year, and they’re a great test for us.

“These guys make transition very quickly with their speed, and also they test you a lot on both sides of the ball. They steal it a lot, they turn teams over a lot and they live in the paint on offense, so you’ve really got to contain them on the defensive end. And on the offensive end, you’ve got to make sure you’re moving it up the floor quickly but taking care of it.”

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
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out