Game 31: Mavs vs. Suns

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Harrison Barnes Scores 26 vs. Suns | December 18, 2017

Harrison Barnes scores 26 points and three assists in the Mavericks loss to the Suns.

DALLAS — Hoping to atone for their late-game miscues during Saturday’s 98-96 loss in San Antonio, the Dallas Mavericks returned to their home floor hungry for a win 48 hours later.

Welcoming in the Phoenix Suns, the Mavericks tried to get back on track Monday night on their home hardwood. The Mavs also tried to make the necessary adjustments after surrendering a 13-0 run to conclude Saturday’s game, looking to take advantage of a Phoenix team that was without leading scorer Devin Booker (left abductor strain). But despite leading by as many as 12, the Mavericks (8-23) would fail to sustain their success once again, falling to a 97-91 defeat in the process.

“They played well. I think you have to give the credit to Phoenix,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed after the loss. “We had some good looks. I know the ball stuck some, and generally when we’re having problems in the fourth (quarter) it’s because the ball gets stagnant and we’re not attacking the paint.”

Playing a sixth straight game without rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain), the Mavericks tried to get out of the gate fast minus their first-year floor general. Meanwhile, German big man Maxi Kleber tried to build on his career-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting versus San Antonio, joining second-year standout Yogi Ferrell, veteran swingman Wesley Matthews, leading scorer Harrison Barnes and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki in the starting lineup.

Three-pointers by Nowitzki and Matthews would then help the Mavs build an early advantage. Meanwhile, Nowitzki passed former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant (1,827) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time three-pointers made list. Still, despite Barnes’ nine points in the opening quarter and reserve guard J.J. Barea’s banked-in three to conclude scoring in the period, the Mavs trailed 25-22 after 12 minutes of play.

“Really, we got a little lucky in the first. Barea hit a banker to close it to three at the end of the first. It would have been six, and in the fourth they beat us by seven. You know, bad starts and poor finishes are a recipe for losses. We’ve just got to be better from start to finish, ’cause we don’t have the margins for error,” Carlisle foreshadowed.

After just 8-of-23 shooting in the first period, the Mavericks tried to get the ball in the basket more frequently in the second stanza. An alley-oop connection between Barea and backup big man Dwight Powell helped the Mavs get going in the right direction, pushing the home team briefly back in front.

However, after back-to-back threes from Suns reserves Troy Daniels and Isaiah Canaan, the Mavericks found themselves in a 33-26 hole with 9:24 remaining in the first half. Dallas returned fire as Ferrell and Barnes upped their aggression to bring the Mavs within one, 35-34. A three from Barea followed a short time later to tie the game at 37-all. Barnes’ off-the-dribble move and pass to Kleber for a slam then put the Mavericks back on top, forcing a Phoenix timeout with 4:06 left in the half. Barnes’ 16-point first half then sent the Mavs into the intermission with a 50-49 edge.

Led by Barnes’ 7-of-11 shooting, the Mavericks outshot the Suns (11-21) from the field through two quarters, 43.2 percent to 38.8 percent. The Mavs also held a 28-25 rebounding edge, overcoming the 12 Phoenix points scored off eight Dallas turnovers.

Continuing to lean on Barnes and Ferrell early in the second half, the Mavericks tried to create a separation on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Matthews lent some assistance, swishing a three-pointer to put the Mavs up 57-51 while forcing a Phoenix timeout with 9:08 left in the third.

An alley-oop connection between Ferrell and Kleber kept the momentum in Dallas’ favor later in the period. Another triple from Matthews followed as the Mavericks surged ahead by nine. But after Barnes’ three-pointer pushed the lead to 12 at 71-59, Daniels caught fire to trim the Dallas advantage to 75-68 entering the final quarter.

Inching to within five, the Suns refused to go away quietly after Canaan’s driving bank-in opened the fourth-quarter scoring. The Suns’ comeback efforts then took a blow after Daniels was forced to have a seat with 9:18 remaining following his fifth personal foul of the night. Still, following Canaan’s triple, Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout with his team tied at 79-all and 7:29 left to play.

The stoppage didn’t slow the Suns down, however, as the visiting team assumed an 81-79 lead after two free throws by big man Alex Len. The margin reached four before Barea connected with Kleber above the rim on a lob pass. Suns guard Mike James’ trey then put the Suns up 86-81 as the visitors threatened to pull away. Dragon Bender followed suit with a three of his own, putting the Suns up 89-81. Refusing to be outdone, Barnes capped a 5-0 spurt with a three from the top of the key to keep the Mavericks’ hopes alive. And following Nowitzki’s driving score to answer Len’s emphatic finish, the Mavs again trailed by three with 1:49 remaining.

The Dallas defense took it from there with a timely stop. But after T.J. Warren’s rejection on Barnes’ attack at the other end, Canaan scored inside to force a Dallas timeout with 1:02 left on the game clock and the Mavericks down 93-88. An officials’ review then sent the ball back to Phoenix before another Dallas stop, leading to Devin Harris’ three to pull the Mavs within two. The Mavs’ momentum would then run out of steam after Matthews’ steal, leading to a miss from the veteran sharpshooter and Ferrell’s subsequent foul with 12.4 seconds remaining. Still, after Warren’s 1-of-2 trip to the foul line with 11.4 seconds on the clock to put the Suns up three, the Mavericks had another chance to tie the game. And after Harris’ driving miss and immediate foul, Warren’s clutch free throws iced the game for the Suns in the final seconds.

Scoring 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting, Barnes led the Mavericks in a losing effort. Harris added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Ferrell and Matthews pitched in 13 points apiece while combining for 13 boards. Barea was the only other Mav in double figures with 10 points and six assists in a reserve role.

Warren led five Suns in double figures with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The Suns also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 44.3 percent to 36.4 percent, adding a 49-42 rebounding advantage and 55-28 edge in bench scoring to overcome their 19 turnovers.

“It’s a little bit of everything, and execution was a big part of it,” Harris admitted. “Tonight, defensively we gave up too many paint points, especially in the fourth quarter. I thought in the third quarter we did a great job of keeping them out of the paint, and fourth quarter they did a better job of getting in the paint.”

“Teams seem to step up their pressure a little bit, and we were missing some shots,” Nowitzki added. “We had some untimely turnovers, and it was just the complete package. … Actually, we played really well against their starters. We were up quick in the first, up quick there in the third, and every time they came with the bench they stepped up their pressure with the two little guards. Len played well, and they really housed us with their bench tonight. It showed with the game and it showed on the stat sheet. Usually our bench lineup with me in there is really good, but it really wasn’t today, unfortunately. There’s just some nights like that where it just wasn’t there for us.”

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

Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) — out
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

Suns

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
T. Warren, SF 32 7-13 0-2 5-8 1 4 5 1 3 1 4 4 -1 19
M. Chriss, PF 17 1-5 0-2 0-0 1 3 4 0 0 0 1 4 -17 2
T. Chandler, C 19 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 8 9 3 1 0 2 2 -13 4
J. Jackson, SG 22 3-11 0-1 1-2 1 2 3 0 1 3 1 1 -15 7
T. Ulis, PG 22 3-8 2-3 2-2 0 2 2 1 1 0 1 0 -17 10
I. Canaan 26 6-10 2-3 3-4 0 4 4 6 3 0 2 3 26 17
A. Len 27 5-8 0-0 4-4 3 11 14 4 0 1 4 3 16 14
T. Daniels 19 4-9 3-8 1-1 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 5 9 12
D. Bender 28 2-6 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 1 2 0 20 6
D. House 12 1-2 0-1 1-1 0 3 3 1 0 0 1 3 10 3
M. James 9 1-3 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 12 3
J. Dudley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Monroe 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Booker 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. Knight 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Peters 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Reed 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Williams 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   35-79 10-25 17-22 7 42 49 17 9 6 18 25   97
    44.3% 40.0%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 35 11-21 3-6 1-1 0 2 2 3 1 1 1 0 13 26
M. Kleber, PF 29 3-10 0-3 0-0 3 5 8 4 2 1 0 0 14 6
D. Nowitzki, C 24 2-6 1-3 0-0 0 4 4 1 1 1 1 2 -15 5
W. Matthews, SG 36 5-12 3-8 0-0 0 7 7 0 3 0 2 4 4 13
Y. Ferrell, PG 42 4-14 1-5 4-4 1 5 6 5 0 0 3 2 7 13
S. Mejri 10 0-3 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 0 1 1 3 5 3 0
J. Barea 24 3-11 2-7 2-2 0 3 3 6 1 0 3 0 -15 10
D. Harris 22 2-9 1-5 9-10 0 6 6 2 1 0 2 2 -15 14
D. Powell 12 2-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 3 -18 4
A. Cleveland 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -8 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
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
N. Noel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Smith Jr. 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   32-88 11-37 16-17 8 34 42 21 10 5 15 18   91
    36.4% 29.7%                      

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Barea Sets Up Powell For The Dunk

JJ Barea gets to the goal and throws it up to Dwight Powell to finish the alley-oop dunk.

Barnes To Kleber For The Dunk

Harrison Barnes goes behind the back before dishing it to Maxi Kleber for the dunk.

Nowitzki Dimes Barnes For Reverse Layup

Dirk Nowitzki dimes the bounce pass to Harrison Barnes for the reverse layup.

Kleber Completes The Oop

Yogi Ferrell goes between the legs and throws it up to Maxi Kleber for the alley-oop dunk.

Matthews For Three

Yogi Ferrell dishes it to Wesley Matthews in the corner to knock down the three.

Dirk 41 Moments #13

With the Western Conference Finals tied at 2-2 and the Suns leading in Game 5, Dirk Nowitzki responded by putting on a scoring display for the ages. Dirk outscored Phoenix by himself 22-20 in the fourth quarter of Game 5 on June 1, 2006, finishing with 50 points on the night as Dallas would run away with a 117-101 victory.

Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on tonight's game against the Suns.

One-on-one with Maxi Kleber

Earl K. Sneed goes one-on-one with Mavs F Maxi Kleber prior to tonight's game against the Suns.

DALLAS — Despite catching the Phoenix Suns without their top scorer in guard Devin Booker, the Dallas Mavericks know they can’t afford to overlook their opponent Monday night.

Playing without Booker as he continues to rehab from a left abductor strain, the Suns (10-21) come to town flying high after a 108-106 win Saturday in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Mavericks (8-21) are eager to get back on track after Saturday’s disappointing 98-96 loss in San Antonio, hoping to redeem themselves after surrendering a 13-0 run to conclude that game. And with the Suns proving that they’re capable of winning on the road without their No. 1 offensive option, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows his team will have to grind for a victory to begin a two-game stretch at home.

“They’re a great driving team. They’re shooting the three better, they’re a great rebounding team, and they get to the free-throw line a lot. You’ve got to defend without fouling and work on taking away the threes, and the rebounding again is a massive stat for us,” Carlisle said with a great amount of respect for Phoenix following the Mavericks’ Monday morning shootaround.

“It’s a little different without a guy like Booker, but they’re still winning games and they’re still getting really good wins,” the coach added. “I mean, the win in Minnesota two days ago was a great win for them, and they’ve been opportunistic this year on the road against a lot of good teams. You know, they’ll be coming in here tonight aggressive, tough and attacking. They’re an attacking group, and [Suns interim coach Jay Triano] has done a really terrific job getting these guys playing at their strengths.”

While the Suns will continue to play without their floor general, the Mavericks will also be minus starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as he misses his sixth straight game due to a left hip strain.

The Mavs have gone 1-4 during the last five games without Smith in the lineup, looking to improve on that mark Monday night. The Mavericks are also hopeful to have Smith back in the lineup Wednesday as they welcome in the Detroit Pistons. But with Smith’s timetable to return still up in the air, Carlisle says the team will not rush the cat-quick guard back until he’s 100 percent.

“He’s not playing tonight. He’s a possible for Wednesday,” Carlisle said while giving an update on Smith’s status. “It’s not been determined yet, so I guess questionable for Wednesday. He’s doing better, though.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Phoenix Suns. 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:

Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) — out
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

DALLAS — Still reeling after suffering a heartbreaking 98-96 loss Saturday in San Antonio, the Dallas Mavericks hope to take their frustration out two nights later against the Phoenix Suns.

Leading by as many as 16 and surrendering a 13-0 run to close Saturday’s game while falling on Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili’s layup with 3.1 seconds remaining, the Mavericks (8-22) know it was a missed opportunity to collect a signature road win. The Mavericks will now look for success on their own floor, welcoming in the Suns (10-21) to begin a two-game stretch at home. But according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, the team will have to learn from its late-game miscues in order to move forward and seize a much-needed home win.

“We’ve got to learn from it,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after Saturday’s loss. “It’s extremely disappointing, as well as we played for 46 minutes or whatever it was. There’s not a lot to say. You know, the ending was something we’re going to have to learn from.

“We missed shots and had a big turnover, and they made shots and made the last shot. That’s really summing it up,” the coach added. “We did a lot of good things, but the ending is unforgivable. The turnover is my fault. As a coach, you’ve got to take the responsibility when you can’t get the ball in bounds, so that’s on me. But we all own it. It’s very disappointing, but it’s got to make us stronger.”

Falling victim to budding star Devin Booker’s late-game heroics last season, the Mavericks could benefit from not having the lethal scoring threat in the lineup for the Suns on Monday night.

Last season, the 21-year-old Booker terrorized the Dallas defense during four games against the Mavericks, averaging 29.5 points on 59.7 percent shooting and 63.2 percent from three-point range. He also led the Suns to a 3-1 record in those four outings, including hitting a game-winning jumper with 1.4 seconds left to cap a 100-98 win in Dallas on March 11. However, with Booker now expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks due to a left abductor strain, the Mavs hope to take advantage of his likely absence Monday in the first of three matchups this season against the lowly Suns. And with the Suns currently sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and sliding without Booker in the lineup, the Mavericks will attempt to put together a dominant performance in front of their home crowd by shutting down Phoenix’s athletic supporting cast.

“I mean, they’re an athletic team. They get up and down the floor extremely fast, so we’ve got to do a good job of stopping the break high and just making them play halfcourt,” Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes said while discussing defending the Suns last season. “Just cut down on what you give a team. It’s hard to take away everything, but we just can’t let them get rhythm threes and can’t let them get in transition. You know, this team is good at getting to the free-throw line, so we’ll just try to limit that.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Phoenix Suns. 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:

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