Game 22: Mavs vs. Nets

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Kleber Career-High First Quarter

Maxi Kleber scores a career-high 12 points in the first quarter against the Nets.

DALLAS — Returning to their home floor Wednesday night after suffering a hard-fought 115-108 loss 48 hours prior in San Antonio, the Dallas Mavericks tried to get back on track in front of their faithful fans.

Welcoming in the lowly Brooklyn Nets, the Mavericks looked to begin their three-game homestand with a dominant performance. The Mavs also attempted to put Monday’s loss behind them, hoping for better luck on their home hardwood. But after suffering a 109-104 loss on their own floor, the Mavericks (5-17) admittedly started their homestand in disappointing fashion.

“We put ourselves in a position in the second half where we almost had to play perfect down the stretch, and we weren’t,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said after the loss. “We gave up 60-something points and almost two 30-point quarters in the second half, and that’s just not good enough. And then down the stretch we needed a couple of bounces to go our way, and they didn’t. But it shouldn’t have come down to that.”

After scoring a team high-tying 19 points in Monday’s loss, rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. tried to get the Mavericks off to a fast start with a midrange jumper to open the scoring. The Mavs’ twin towers of German big man Maxi Kleber and Nowitzki took matters from there, splashing back-to-back three-pointers as the home team opened up with a 10-4 start.

“We had a good start into the game. We got some stops and got some shots to go. But we just never found a way after that to buckle down and get some good stops after that,” Nowitzki foreshadowed.

The Nets (8-13) quickly countered with a run of their own, pulling to within one at 16-15 after Trevor Booker’s score to force a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle with 5:09 left in the period. But behind the interior play of Kleber, the Mavericks once again began to separate themselves. Kleber then set career highs in points and rebounds during the quarter, scoring 12 points and snagging six boards as the Mavs took a 27-21 edge into the second stanza.

Handing the game over to the Dallas reserves, the Mavericks continued to control the action as backup big man Dwight Powell and veteran point guard J.J. Barea gave the team a spark off the bench. Combo guard Devin Harris then got in on the act, connecting on a three from the top of the key to put the Mavs up 36-28 with 8:49 left in the first half.

The Nets continued to fight back, however, while climbing to within one at 38-37 after Booker’s two-handed slam with 5:02 left in the half. Brooklyn surged ahead on the scoreboard from there, erasing a 10-point deficit to take a 44-40 edge after back-to-back treys from Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. And despite Nowitzki’s late triple to bring the Mavs within one, Dallas trailed 48-47 at the midway mark.

Despite Kleber’s 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, the Mavericks were outshot by the Nets through two quarters, 48.8 percent to 41.3 percent. The Mavs also fell victim to the Nets’ 25-21 rebounding edge and 28-18 advantage in the paint.

“Kleber played well, especially in the first half,” Carlisle confessed. “He got a lot of points, and then the fouls derailed him a little bit. But at the end of the day he’s a minus in the scoresheet, and minuses get you beat.”

Opening the second half with a score to continue his career night, Kleber tried to will the Mavs in the third quarter. But with the Nets finding success from beyond the three-point arc, the Mavericks continued to play from behind early in the period.

Smith then upped his aggression while joining Kleber in double figures. Meanwhile, the Mavs reached the bonus with 6:53 left in the third, hoping to surge ahead with frequent trips to the foul line. The Mavericks pulled even at 70-all after Powell’s corner three with 4:19 left in the third. Still, despite the do-it-all play of leading scorer Harrison Barnes, the Mavericks continued to find themselves at a slight disadvantage at 80-76 entering the final period.

Turning to Powell for a spark at the start for the fourth, the Mavs tried to outlast the Nets down the stretch. Devin Harris also reemerged in the scoring, bringing the Mavericks to within two at 84-82 with a cutting basket in traffic.

Kleber then returned to the floor with his team down two, hoping to ignite a Dallas run. But after Booker’s score inside, Carlisle called for a timeout with the Mavericks down 88-84 and 6:57 remaining. The Mavs quickly came back to within one after Tunisian center Salah Mejri split a pair of free throws. Dinwiddie then tried to keep the Mavericks at bay, driving for a score to put the Nets up 92-86.

DeMarre Carroll’s three-point play a short time later gave the Nets an eight-point cushion at 97-89. But after Barnes’ back-to-back scores, the Mavs cut their deficit in half to four with 3:17 still on the game clock. The Nets countered with consecutive trips to the free-throw line to extend their lead to eight. Sharpshooter Joe Harris then delivered a dagger, swishing a three to put the Nets up 106-97 with just 1:32 on the clock.

Out of a timeout, Barea kept the Mavericks’ hopes alive with a three of his own. An offensive foul on Dinwiddie then sent the ball back over to the Mavs with 1:12 left before Barea’s score inside trimmed the disadvantage to four. A defensive stop and Devin Harris’ score made the deficit two with 18.5 ticks left. But after Joe Harris’ 1-of-2 trip to the line, a review handed the Nets the ball with 8.5 seconds left. Dinwiddie then got a chance to redeem himself after missing a pair at the free-throw line that led to collecting his own rebound, converting a 2-of-2 trip to the charity stripe with 5.2 seconds remaining to finish off the scoring.

“That hurt us a lot, especially when he missed it,” Smith said of the final sequence. “It was 107-104, and he missed two (free throws). The chances of that happening are very unlikely, so he gave us an opportunity to tie. They got the board, and that was it right there.”

Scoring 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting, Barnes filled up the stat sheet in a losing effort with eight rebounds and a career-high six assists. Kleber added a career-high 16 points and career-best seven rebounds, and Powell finished with 14 points and seven boards off the bench. Meanwhile, Devin Harris scored 11 points in a reserve role. Nowitzki and Smith finished with 10 points apiece in the first unit.

Carroll scored 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting to lead five Nets in double figures. The Nets also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 46.7 percent to 46.4 percent, adding a 52-44 rebounding edge and a 58-46 advantage in the paint.

“They were living in our paint. They almost had 60 points in the paint with a lot of layups. That’s a recipe to lose,” Nowitzki matter-of-factly admitted.

“It’s a lack of execution, and it’s on me. I had the wrong guys in the game,” Carlisle added. “You know, I’ve got to get guys in there that can go get the ball. For the second half, they beat us to multiple loose balls. And you’ve just got to look at Brooklyn and say, ‘You know, those guys played a (heck) of a game.’ They wanted it more, and they took the game. The last three quarters were really a (tail-kicking), and give them credit. We didn’t show up the way we needed to those last three quarters.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor Saturday at American Airlines Center against the Los Angeles Clippers. L.A. leads the season series 1-0 after a 119-98 home win on Nov. 1. The game will tip off at 1 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:

Nerlens Noel (left thumb injury) — questionable
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

Nets

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
D. Carroll, SF 33 7-14 4-7 4-5 4 3 7 1 0 0 2 2 -1 22
T. Booker, PF 28 8-13 0-1 0-2 3 7 10 2 0 0 3 3 4 16
T. Zeller, C 21 4-6 0-0 1-3 2 5 7 4 2 0 3 2 2 9
J. Harris, SG 30 4-9 1-5 2-3 0 4 4 2 0 0 0 2 3 11
S. Dinwiddie, PG 32 6-15 2-6 5-8 2 1 3 6 0 1 1 5 6 19
S. Kilpatrick 17 1-6 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 2 0 0 2 2 2 3
Q. Acy 20 1-3 1-3 1-2 0 5 5 1 1 0 1 1 5 4
C. LeVert 27 5-13 2-3 1-2 1 5 6 5 1 0 0 2 7 13
J. Allen 16 3-4 0-0 0-0 1 5 6 0 1 0 0 0 -4 6
I. Whitehead 11 3-7 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 2 0 0 2 2 1 6
A. Crabbe 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Hollis-Jefferson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Mozgov 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Lin 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Y. Ouattara 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Russell 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Wiley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   42-90 11-29 14-25 14 38 52 25 5 1 14 21   109
    46.7% 37.9%                      

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Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 36 5-10 0-1 7-8 0 8 8 6 2 0 1 1 -1 17
M. Kleber, PF 22 7-11 2-4 0-0 3 4 7 0 0 1 1 5 -1 16
D. Nowitzki, C 26 4-9 2-4 0-0 0 7 7 1 0 0 0 2 8 10
W. Matthews, SG 36 3-8 2-5 0-0 0 3 3 2 0 0 1 2 -1 8
D. Smith Jr., PG 25 3-11 0-1 4-4 0 2 2 3 0 0 2 1 -10 10
S. Mejri 6 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 -4 1
Y. Ferrell 21 2-7 0-2 4-4 2 3 5 1 0 1 0 2 -5 8
D. Powell 20 6-8 1-2 1-2 2 5 7 3 1 1 2 1 -7 14
J. Barea 21 4-12 1-6 0-0 0 3 3 6 0 0 2 2 -4 9
D. Harris 22 5-8 1-2 0-1 0 2 2 3 2 0 2 6 0 11
J. Withey 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Cleveland 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
N. Noel 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   39-84 9-27 17-21 7 37 44 26 5 3 11 23   104
    46.4% 33.3%                      

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Powell At The First Quarter Buzzer

Devin Harris dishes the bounce pass to Dwight Powell to d=sink the layup at the first quarter buzzer.


Ferrell Floats It In

Yogi Ferrell runs inside to sink the floater.


Powell Alley-oop Slam

Harrison Barnes lobs it up to Dwight Powell for the alley-oop slam.


Barnes Steal And Score

Trevor Booker tries to steal it from J.J. Barea and Harrison Barnes steals it back and lays it in.


Practice Report: Wesley Matthews

Wesley Matthews says there's a lot of basketball and left and the team needs to maintain its identity, trust in one another, play hard for each other and the wins will come.

DALLAS — Returning to their own floor for the start of a three-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks now hope to treat their faithful fans to a show Wednesday night against the upstart Brooklyn Nets. The Mavericks (5-16) also hope to quickly bounce back from Monday’s 115-108 defeat in San Antonio, looking for better fortune on their home hardwood.

This season, both the Mavs and the Nets (7-13) have gotten off to sluggish starts after missing the playoffs during the 2016-17 campaign. Both teams also sit at or near the bottom of their respective conferences, hoping to turn things around Wednesday in the first meeting of the season between the two squads. Meanwhile, the Mavericks hope not to take the Nets lightly with a looming matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, looking to keep their competitive spirits high against one of the NBA’s lower-echelon teams. And after showing that they can compete with the best the league has to offer for a full four quarters, the Mavs will attempt to make quick work of the Nets on their home floor Wednesday night.

“We’ve just got to get better every game and keep playing like we’ve been playing,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews said after tying a team high with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting during Monday’s loss. “I really sound like a broken record since the Washington game (on Nov. 7), where we kind of really turned the corner and found our identity. By playing that style, playing that way, continuing to trust ourselves, believing we’re going to win, believing we’re supposed to win and stacking 48 minutes of hard play together, we like our chances.

“I think we just really didn’t have much of an identity early,” he added. “I think we had an idea of what we wanted to be and what we wanted to do, but we didn’t know what it was going to take to be where we thought that we should have been. Unfortunately, it took loss after loss after loss after loss for us to put our backs against the wall and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to fight out of this.’ And we have. We’ve beaten teams that have beaten the top teams. We’ve lost to teams that haven’t had the greatest success in the season. You know, I wish we could start the season over with the mentality and the way we’re playing right now. It would be a completely different record, but it’s still a lot of basketball left and the streaks are still there to be had. We just can’t let games slept away, like (Monday night), but we’ve got another one (Wednesday) and we’ve got to have it.”

Facing a Brooklyn team that’s 3-7 in its last 10 games, the Mavericks certainly like their chances Wednesday night after capturing wins in three of their last five outings. However, with the Nets fully capable of stealing a win on the Mavs’ home floor, coach Rick Carlisle knows his team will have to execute for a full four quarters. And with the Mavericks just 3-9 on the season at home, Carlisle says his team will have to be aggressive in front of the Dallas crowd in order to make up ground during the current homestand.

“Well, we are doing some things better really on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to continue to trend positively there,” Carlisle confessed. “It’s all about the fight. Our defensive numbers have picked up, our rebounding has picked up and our turnovers have come down. All those things have got to continue to happen for us, and we’ve got to make them happen. Brooklyn is a very challenging game, because of their ability to attack the paint, their pace and they shoot the three well. They score a lot, and they come at you hard. We’ve just got to be ready for that, and we’ve got to go whistle to whistle and day to day.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor Wednesday night at American Airlines Center against the Brooklyn Nets. 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:

Nerlens Noel (left thumb injury) — questionable
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out