Game 35: Mavs vs. Raptors

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GAME RECAP: Mavericks 98, Raptors 93

J.J. Barea drops 20 points and dishes out four assists as the Mavericks defeat the Raptors 98-93.

DALLAS –- Eager to return to their own floor after a winless two-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks tried to build momentum Tuesday before venturing back out away from home.

Attempting to bounce back after Friday’s 113-101 defeat in Miami and a 112-107 loss the following night at Atlanta, the Mavericks looked to capture a win on their home hardwood against the Toronto Raptors. The Mavs also tried to rise to the occasion against the best team in the Eastern Conference, facing a Raptors team that had won six straight and 12 of its previous 13 games coming into Tuesday’s showdown. And behind lockdown defense against the No. 3 scoring team in the NBA, the Mavericks (10-25) came together to secure a hard-fought 98-93 victory.

“The defense was great, I thought, the whole night,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle matter-of-factly said after the win.

Hoping to get his team out of the gate fast after lackluster starts in the previous two games, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki scored the Mavericks’ first four points in the opening quarter. Fellow German Maxi Kleber took matters from there, swishing an early three-pointer to put the Mavs up 10-6.

Kleber continued to contribute later in the quarter, swishing another triple to put the Mavericks ahead by six at 21-15. Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes then began to go to work himself, moving into double figures and keeping the Raptors (23-9) at a safe distance on the scoreboard. The duo of Barnes and Kleber then combined to score 19 first-quarter points to lift the Mavericks into the second stanza with a 31-23 advantage.

Opening the second quarter with a 5-0 spurt, the Raptors quickly charged back to within three after backup big man Jakob Poeltl’s and-one score over Nowitzki with 10:40 left in the first half. Delon Wright then tied the game at 31-all with a three to cap an 8-0 Toronto start to the second period.

Not to be outdone, Nowitzki and reserve guard J.J. Barea led a 6-0 Dallas run at the other end as the Mavericks regained control. Nowitzki’s offensive board and three-point play then boosted the Mavs to a 42-36 lead later in the period. A three-pointer from Barea followed a short time later to put the Mavericks up nine. But after Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry’s three from the top of the key capped a 10-0 Toronto run, the visiting team pulled in front 46-45. Lowry struck again from behind the arc moments after that to keep the Raptors ahead. Still, the Mavericks continued to fight behind the end-to-end play of Kleber inside. And after second-year standout Yogi Ferrell’s alley-oop lob pass to Kleber ended the half, the Mavs took a 57-53 edge into the intermission.

Led by 13 points apiece from Barnes and Kleber on 10-of-14 combined shooting, the Mavericks’ 48.9 percent from the field bettered the Raptors’ 36.2 percent in the first half. The Mavs also overcame Lowry’s 16 points in the half and Toronto’s 26-24 rebounding edge, outscoring the Raptors 30-18 in the paint.

“We were picking up fullcourt with presence, and we didn’t really let our offense dictate our defense,” swingman Wesley Matthews said of the first half. “Guys came in the game, and they were engaged.”

Hoping to keep the Raptors at bay during the early stage of the third period, the Mavericks would instead surrender the lead after big man Jonas Valanciunas’s three-point play over Kleber. Meanwhile, the Mavs received a blow after rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was forced to sit following his fourth personal foul with 8:04 left in the third.

However, the Mavericks clawed their way back as Nowitzki upped his aggression on the offensive end of the floor. Barea’s alley-oop connection with Kleber tied the score at 66-all from there, leading to a Toronto timeout with 6:17 remaining in the quarter. The Raptors put the ball back in the hands of Lowry, staging a 7-0 run in response. Barea answered with back-to-back scores of his own to keep the Mavs in the game. Stellar ball movement led to a three from the wing by Barnes a short time later to put the Mavericks back on top, 75-73. And after Barea’s three-pointer capped a 17-0 run, the Mavericks finished the third on a 19-4 sprint to take an 85-77 lead into the final period.

“Our offense was moving. The pace was running high, and we were getting stops. We were able to score, we were moving the ball and attacking the paint, and it all started with us getting stops,” Barea said of the third-quarter success.

Getting a boost from veteran guard Devin Harris and backup big man Dwight Powell early in the fourth quarter, the Mavs tried to pull away. Nowitzki also stepped back into the scoring with a three-pointer of his own, putting the Mavs up nine in the process. Nowitzki’s steal then led to Barea’s transition score, forcing a Toronto timeout as the Mavericks assumed a 94-83 lead with 8:37 left to play.

The Raptors refused to go away, however, charging to within five at 94-89 while forcing 12 straight misses by Dallas. The physicality level also picked up, leading to a double-technical foul call on Tunisian center Salah Mejri and Lowry with 3:16 remaining. Toronto continued to claw its way back into the game after that, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with 1:38 left to play after the Dallas lead shrunk to three at 96-93. However, after Barea’s nifty driving reverse, the Mavericks extended the lead to five with just 10.2 seconds remaining. The Dallas defense then secured the win in the final seconds, stiffening for one final stop before Smith dribbled out the clock.

Scoring 20 points off the bench on 9-of-18 shooting, Barea led the Mavs to the win. Nowitzki added 18 points and seven rebounds inside, and Barnes scored 16 points to go along with 10 boards. Kleber pitched in 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in the first unit.

“We knew we weren’t going to be very successful running plays against these guys, because they’re too well-coached and they play situations very well. So, we were just playing random flow basketball as much as possible the entire game. … And the guys did a terrific job,” Carlisle explained.

Lowry led three Raptors in double figures with 23 points on 6-of-17 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing six assists to boot. However, the Mavericks outshot the Raptors for the game, 42.6 percent to 33.7 percent, adding a 56-53 rebounding edge and scoring 13 points off Toronto’s 12 turnovers to overcome their own 14 giveaways.

“The defense was great, especially Wes on (DeMar) DeRozan all night,” Barea said after the Mavericks held the perennial All-Star to eight points on 3-of-16 shooting. “I think everybody was rebounding, so I knew if we got one or two buckets that was game. I’m glad I was able to knock that down, and we’ll got from there.”

Note: The Mavericks will now head to Indiana to complete their back-to-back Wednesday night against the Pacers. 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.

The Mavs return to their home floor next Wednesday night at American Airlines Center against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Golden State leads the season series 2-0. 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
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

Raptors

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
O. Anunoby, SF 19 0-2 0-2 0-0 1 2 3 0 1 1 1 2 7 0
S. Ibaka, PF 31 4-13 0-4 3-5 4 8 12 0 0 3 2 3 9 11
J. Valanciunas, C 24 5-11 0-0 7-9 4 7 11 1 1 0 1 5 7 17
D. DeRozan, SG 34 3-16 0-2 2-3 0 3 3 5 2 0 0 1 -3 8
K. Lowry, PG 34 6-17 4-8 7-8 0 8 8 6 1 0 1 3 16 23
C. Miles 10 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 -16 3
J. Poeltl 17 3-4 0-0 3-5 3 1 4 0 1 1 1 1 -9 9
P. Siakam 20 2-6 0-1 2-2 2 1 3 1 1 0 0 1 -13 6
F. VanVleet 20 2-6 2-5 0-0 1 4 5 2 2 0 1 1 -5 6
N. Powell 10 1-6 1-4 0-0 1 1 2 1 0 0 2 3 2 3
D. Wright 15 3-5 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 2 1 3 -20 7
L. Nogueira 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
L. Brown 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. Caboclo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. McKinnie 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Miller 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   30-89 9-31 24-32 16 37 53 16 10 7 10 24   93
    33.7% 29.0%                      

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 6-13 1-2 3-4 4 6 10 2 0 0 4 1 6 16
M. Kleber, PF 24 6-9 2-4 1-1 2 6 8 2 2 5 0 3 11 15
D. Nowitzki, C 26 8-13 1-2 1-1 2 5 7 1 1 3 2 3 5 18
W. Matthews, SG 35 2-9 0-5 1-1 1 3 4 3 0 1 2 2 6 5
D. Smith Jr., PG 26 3-14 0-2 2-4 2 3 5 4 0 0 1 4 -8 8
S. Mejri 15 2-4 0-0 2-2 2 3 5 1 0 1 1 4 -9 6
Y. Ferrell 19 0-5 0-3 0-0 0 4 4 2 0 0 0 2 5 0
J. Barea 22 9-18 2-6 0-1 0 3 3 4 0 0 2 2 6 20
D. Powell 18 2-7 0-0 2-2 3 4 7 0 1 0 0 2 8 6
D. Harris 14 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 -5 4
K. Collinsworth 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
TEAM   40-94 6-24 12-16 16 40 56 20 5 11 13 24   98
    42.6% 25.0%                      

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Smith Jr. Dropping Dimes

Dennis Smith Jr. gets the quick dish behind him to Salah Mejri for the layup.


Kleber Slams The Oop

Yogi Ferrell drives and finds Maxi Kleber under the goal and he rises for the alley-oop slam.


Kleber Throws Down The Alley-oop

J.J. Barea connects with Maxi Kleber and slams down the alley-oop dunk.


Barea Spin And Reverse Layup

J.J. Barea spins and drives for the reverse layup as the clock winds down in the fourth.


Postgame: Wesley Matthews

Mavs G Wesley Matthews dishes on Tuesday's 98-93 win over the Raptors.


Postgame: Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavs PG Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on Tuesday's 98-93 win over the Raptors.


Postgame: J.J. Barea

Mavs PG J.J. Barea dishes on Tuesday's 98-93 win over the Raptors.


Shootaround: J.J. Barea

Mavs guard J.J. Barea previews tonight's tilt with the Toronto Raptors!

DALLAS — Welcoming in a Toronto Raptors team that has ascended to the top of the Eastern Conference standings while riding a six-game winning streak, the Dallas Mavericks know they’ll have to raise their collective level of play in order to collect a signature win Tuesday evening.

Looking to bounce back from a 113-101 loss Friday in Miami and a 112-107 defeat Saturday at Atlanta, the Mavericks (9-25) will try to get on track at home before venturing out on a three-game road trip. The Mavs will also attempt to cool down the red-hot Raptors (23-8), who have won 12 of their last 13 games. And according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, the Dallas team will have to match Toronto’s physical style of play in order to avoid a three-game losing skid.

“Well, it hasn’t just been the six games. The last month, they’re statistically the best team in basketball. They’ve got a differential of plus-13. They’re great on offense, and they’re great on defense,” Carlisle said with a great amount of respect for the Raptors. “They’ve adjusted their team, and they’ve turned their roster over in some ways. (Raptors coach) Dwayne Casey’s doing one of the best jobs in the entire league, which is certainly no surprise, and they’re big and physical. They hurt you in a lot of ways.

“They’re more physical than us,” the coach added. “If you look at body type and line them up against our guys, we’re not going to win a beauty contest if you’re looking at who’s stronger and bigger. But the persistence game is going to have to be the game that we beat them at. We’re going to have to be efficient with the ball, we’re going to have to be persistent with how we’re guarding them and how we’re pursuing rebounds, and then we’re going to have to attack. We’re home tonight, and we’ve got to get our home crowd involved. It’s not on them, but it’s on us to get them involved.”

The Raptors rank third in the NBA in scoring while posting 111.3 points per game as a team. Toronto also has a top-10 defense in the league, allowing just 102.4 points per game to rank ninth in that department. That said, the Mavs will certainly be challenged at both ends of the court Tuesday night. And according to veteran reserve J.J. Barea, the Mavericks will have to come out aggressively early.

“Well, they’re playing great. They’re a tough team, they’re physical, they’re good at offense and defense and they’re well-coached, so we got to be ready,” Barea said. “We’ve got to be more than ready tonight and use our home advantage. We’ve got to play with more energy than them. Rebounding is going to be huge tonight. We’ve got to try to be smarter, move the ball quick and try to make some shots.”

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) — out

DALLAS — Returning home after a winless two-game trip, the Dallas Mavericks hope to get on trip in front of their own fans before venturing back out on the road.

Suffering a 113-101 loss Friday in Miami, the Mavericks (9-25) failed to rebound the following night at Atlanta while falling to a 112-107 defeat. The Mavs will now attempt to right the ship Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors before playing their next three games away from home. But with the Raptors (23-8) currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference and riding the wave of a six-game winning streak, the Mavericks know they will have to step up their play in order to seize a signature home win.

“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 Saturday’s loss. “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.”

If the Mavericks are going to successfully come out of the Christmas holiday and seize a win Tuesday night on their home floor, they will admittedly need to match and ascend the Raptors’ level of physicality while keeping their mistakes to a minimum. The Mavs will also try to avoid a holiday hangover on their home hardwood, attempting to keep pace with the Eastern Conference’s best team record-wise.

However, according to both reserve guard J.J. Barea and head coach Rick Carlisle, the Mavericks will have to withstand the Raptors’ physical play in order to seize a victory. That said, the Mavs fully expect to find themselves in for another dogfight, looking to attack the Raptors with a hit-first mentality.

“It’s a tough team,” Barea said with a great amount of respect for the Raptors last season. “They’re playing good. They play tough and they play physical, so we’ve got to come out with our best game and play physical just like them. You know, use this building and use these fans as energy.”

“They’re a talented team,” Carlisle added after studying film of the Raptors. “They’re very physical. They want to physically intimidate you, I think, and it’s one of the things that they do well. So, we’re going to have to do a lot of things better. Our rebounding is going to have to be good, we’re going to have to keep turnovers down, and we’re going to have to play a very persistent game to beat them.”

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) — out