Game 34: Mavs at Hawks

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Nowitzki Knocks Down Three

Wesley Matthews finds Dirk Nowitzki at the top of the arc for the three-point jumper.

ATLANTA — Eager to redeem themselves after a lackluster start to the first and second halves during Friday night’s 113-101 loss in Miami, the Dallas Mavericks returned to the hardwood just 24 hours later with hopes of hitting first on the second night of a back-to-back.

Looking to atone for allowing 12-0 runs to start both halves during Friday’s loss, the Mavericks traveled to Atlanta and tried to get the better of the Hawks one night later. The Mavs also attempted to avenge a 117-111 season-opening loss to the Hawks at home back on Oct. 18, looking to return the favor with a much-needed road victory. But despite competing hard for 48 minutes, the Mavericks (9-25) would once again find themselves on the downside of the scoreboard after a 112-107 loss to conclude their difficult back-to-back.

“Tough losses, but we’ve got to learn how to close out games. If that’s not the case, then we’re going to keep losing,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said after the defeat. “We’re going to be in this position a lot more times for the rest of the season, and we’ve got to find ways that work.”

Starting the game with an emphatic alley-oop connection between rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and German big man Maxi Kleber, the Mavericks tried to come out of the gate aggressively in the opening quarter. But after seeing the Hawks open the game with a 9-4 run, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was forced to call a timeout to settle his team down with 9:23 left in the period.

Leading scorer Harrison Barnes then tried to lend the Mavericks some offensive assistance after seeing Kleber score the team’s first six points of the night. The Mavs also surged ahead on the scoreboard at 11-9 after Nowitzki picked up where he left off at with a three-pointer following a season-high 20 points in Friday’s loss. Another alley-oop connection followed after reserve guard J.J. Barea hooked up with Kleber above the rim. And behind a late barrage from veteran Devin Harris off the bench, the Mavericks battled the Hawks to a 25-all draw after 12 minutes of play.

After surrendering 10 first-quarter points to Hawks forward Ersan Ilyasova, the Dallas defense tried to stiffen in the second stanza. Meanwhile, second-year standout Yogi Ferrell continued to give the Mavs a boost off the bench one night after posting a season-high 23 points in a losing effort. Harris’ three-pointer from the wing then boosted the Mavericks to a 35-33 edge to force an Atlanta timeout with 7:45 left in the half.

Backup big man Dwight Powell emerged in the scoring from there with eight straight Dallas points to help the Mavs build a slight cushion. Smith’s two-handed slam in traffic highlighted the quarter a short time later. Barnes’ nine points then led a balanced attack as the Mavs took a 53-48 edge into the intermission.

Led by Barnes’ 4-of-8 shooting, the Mavericks held the lead at the midway mark while being outshot in the first half, 52.6 percent to 47.6 percent. The Mavs also battled to an 18-18 rebounding stalemate, forcing eight turnovers to overcome their own six giveaways.

“We had some miscommunications early, and kind of let them get some easy baskets. Once you get a three to go, a layup and a mid-range shot, guys like that get some rhythm and are kind of hard to stop,” Barnes foreshadowed.

Opening the second half with a 9-2 run as point guard Dennis Schroder looked to attack coming out of the locker room, the Hawks (8-25) quickly surged ahead on the scoreboard at 57-55 to force a Carlisle timeout with 9:57 left in the third quarter. Barnes then attempted to intervene, moving into double figures in the process. Swingman Wesley Matthews also tried to contribute with a timely three-pointer to bring the Mavericks within two.

However, with Schroder still controlling the tempo, the Hawks began to pull away while opening up a double-digit lead. Tunisian big man Salah Mejri was also handed a technical foul for arguing with officials at the 4:53 mark of the third as frustration continued to build. But after Nowitzki and Barea led a furious rally, Smith’s and-one score capped a 10-2 Dallas run and took the Mavericks into the fourth with an 80-79 edge.

“Tonight, I thought Schroder really came out in the third quarter and put it on us,” Nowitzki explained. “A big three, he made an in-between shot, and he made that run almost by himself. You know, he obviously didn’t play yesterday, so he used his fresh legs to his advantage. He was incredible, and he made that run almost happen by himself.”

Answering Ilyasova’s three to begin the final period, Nowitzki responded with five straight points to put the Mavs back on top. Barea took matters from there with a three-point play to break an 85-all tie. The undersized Barea stayed on the attack with a driving lefty score the next time down the floor. And after back-to-back scores from Schroder to tie the game once again, Barea’s lob pass to Powell for a thunderous finish gave the Mavericks a 92-90 lead.

Barea continued to operate as the Mavs’ lead playmaker later in the quarter, swishing a mid-range jumper to put the visiting team up 96-94 with 6:30 remaining. Hawks center Miles Plumlee answered with a two-handed slam at the other end. Barnes upped his aggression from there with scores on consecutive possessions. However, after a three from Schroder put the Hawks up one at 101-100, Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout with 4:25 left on the game clock.

Barnes and Schroder exchanged scores as the teams traded haymakers from there. A dunk in the middle of the lane by Ilyasova put the Hawks up three with 3:04 remaining, leading to another Carlisle timeout. Barea answered with a double-pump three to tie the game briefly. However, after Nowitzki again evened the score at 107-all, Schroder’s trey put the Hawks up three. Barnes’ two missed free throws with 4.8 seconds left after a loose-ball foul by Ilyasova kept the margin at three before the Hawks called for a timeout with 2.7 ticks remaining. Ilyasova then secured the Hawks’ win with clutch strokes at the charity stripe in the final moments.

Scoring 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting, Barnes led the Mavericks in a losing effort. Nowitzki pitched in 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, Barea tallied 15 points and a season-high 12 assists. Powell finished with 12 points, and Harris recorded 10 points in reserve roles.

“We shot the ball pretty well, and we were moving it pretty well. It was just a couple bad phases again in the game where we didn’t stop the run quick enough or just made a couple of mistakes defensively, and that’s tough,” Nowitzki admitted. “They’re a team that moves it well and drives it well, and Schroder was fantastic tonight really attacking us. And when he makes his shot like that, I mean, his drive game is probably up there with the best in the league. If you go under when he steps back and makes all those tough shots, then he’s tough to guard.”

Schroder led five Hawks in double figures with 33 points on 12-of-22 shooting, dishing out seven assists to boot. The Hawks also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 56.8 percent to 50.6 percent, adding a 38-30 rebounding advantage to overcome the 17 Dallas points scored off 15 Atlanta turnovers.

“We didn’t have an answer for Schroder. He beat us on drives, he beat us on pick-and-rolls, and he beat us on traps much like he did the first game,” Carlisle concluded after the cat-quick guard scored 28 points in the fist meeting between the teams. “There were more stuff that involved pick-and-rolls. They weren’t just blow-bys. He had a great game, particularly in the second half with 28 (points) in the second half, and we didn’t have an answer.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center against the Toronto Raptors. The game will tip off at 6 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
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — not with the team

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 34 10-21 0-5 2-4 0 4 4 3 0 0 0 2 -13 22
M. Kleber, PF 19 3-5 0-1 2-2 2 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 -12 8
D. Nowitzki, C 26 7-11 3-5 1-1 1 5 6 4 0 1 1 1 -6 18
W. Matthews, SG 33 3-9 1-7 0-0 0 2 2 4 2 0 3 2 -11 7
D. Smith Jr., PG 22 2-8 0-3 2-3 0 1 1 3 1 0 0 1 -7 6
Y. Ferrell 24 3-7 1-3 0-0 1 3 4 0 0 0 0 5 -3 7
S. Mejri 10 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 1 0 0 0 2 2 2
J. Barea 29 6-11 2-5 1-1 0 2 2 12 3 0 2 0 12 15
D. Harris 17 3-7 2-4 2-2 0 1 1 2 1 0 1 1 5 10
D. Powell 22 5-5 0-0 2-2 2 2 4 2 1 1 2 2 10 12
K. Collinsworth 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -2 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
TEAM   43-85 9-33 12-15 7 23 30 31 8 3 10 17   107
    50.6% 27.3%                      

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Hawks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
T. Prince, SF 28 4-7 1-2 1-1 0 5 5 3 1 0 6 3 9 10
E. Ilyasova, PF 35 7-9 2-3 5-5 1 6 7 2 1 1 2 5 8 21
M. Plumlee, C 20 3-3 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 1 0 0 1 2 12 6
K. Bazemore, SG 28 2-8 1-4 6-6 0 6 6 6 1 1 1 2 17 11
D. Schroder, PG 35 13-23 4-8 3-3 0 3 3 7 1 0 2 1 18 33
J. Collins 20 6-9 0-0 1-3 1 3 4 2 0 0 0 0 -10 13
M. Belinelli 15 1-4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 -9 2
M. Delaney 27 2-5 1-3 2-2 0 3 3 5 0 0 1 2 0 7
I. Taylor 11 1-2 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 1 -13 2
T. Cavanaugh 14 3-5 1-3 0-0 1 4 5 0 0 0 0 2 -7 7
L. Babbitt 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Bembry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Dedmon 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Dorsey 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Magette 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Muscala 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   42-75 10-24 18-22 6 32 38 29 5 2 15 19   112
    56.0% 41.7%                      

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Nowitzki Shoots Over The Defense

Dirk Nowitzki hits the jumper with ease.


Barea Keeps His Eye On The Basket

J.J. Barea drives down the middle and makes the layup while drawing the foul.

ATLANTA — Falling victim to their own sluggish play at the start of both halves Friday night in Miami, the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t overcome 12-0 runs to begin the first and third quarters while suffering a 113-101 loss on the road.

Getting off to a lackluster start to the game, the Mavericks (9-24) battled back to tie the score at 53-all entering the halftime break. The Mavs’ poor starts then reoccurred at the beginning of the third period as they fell into another double-digit hole. And despite season-high scoring nights from second-year standout Yogi Ferrell and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks began their daunting back-to-back on the road with a disappointing effort.

“You know, we talked about it. They’re a hard-charging team. They’re athletic and they just compete. That’s their DNA down here. They come at you hard, and both times we weren’t quite ready for it,” Nowitzki admitted after scoring a season-high 20 points in the loss.

“It’s tough for us to try to come back and win every single time when we have the starts that we had, like 12-0 runs in the first and third quarters. Those are the two most important quarters of the game,” Ferrell added after a 23-point explosion off the bench. “They just made everything. We were trying our best. We were fighting and talking out there. You know, they just happened to be hot.”

Looking to bounce back just 24 hours later, the Mavericks will now have retribution on their minds Saturday night in Atlanta while trying to avenge a season-opening 117-111 home loss to the Hawks (7-25) back on Oct. 18.

Working out of an 11-point halftime hole, the Mavs eventually ran out of steam in the second half of the first meeting between the two teams. Atlanta was led by Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder’s 28 points on 13-of-26 shooting. The Hawks also outshot the Mavericks during that game, 51.1 percent to 44.2 percent, adding a 50-41 rebounding advantage and converting Dallas’ 16 turnovers into 19 points. However, with the Hawks now trying to rebound after a last-second 120-117 loss Friday in Oklahoma City without Schroder (ankle) in the lineup, the Mavs could catch the Atlanta team at the right time. That said, the Mavericks will try to avoid another double-digit deficit as they attempt to steal a win on the road.

“We got ourselves in too big a hole,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed after the first meeting with the Hawks. “You know, an 11-point halftime deficit at home in the first game is just one of those things. It’s not easy to dig out. You spend a lot of energy digging out of a hole, and then getting over the hump becomes even more difficult.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their two-game road trip Saturday night, traveling to Atlanta for a matchup against the Hawks. Atlanta leads the season series 1-0 after a 117-111 win in Dallas on Oct. 18. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on TXA 21 and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to their home floor on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center against the Toronto Raptors. The game will tip off at 6 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:

Devin Harris (illness) — 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) — not with the team