Game 39: Mavs vs. Warriors

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DALLAS — Flying high while riding a four-game winning streak, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to continue their ascension up the standings Wednesday night at home.

Welcoming in the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Mavericks tried to continue trending in the right direction. The Mavs also attempted to dethrone the reigning champs after dropping the previous two meetings against the Warriors earlier in the season. However, despite pushing the reigning titleholders for 48 minutes, the Mavericks (13-26) fell short after a heartbreaking 125-122 loss ended on two-time MVP Stephen Curry’s late three-pointer.

“We didn’t win the game, but I think everybody on our team came out and gave it everything they had, so you can’t ask for more than that,” rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. said after the disappointing loss.

Looking to build on Sunday’s 116-113 victory in Oklahoma City, the Mavericks tried to get off to a fast start in front of their hometown fans. Smith also tried to build on his impressive play on Sunday after scoring the Mavs’ final 11 points to carry the team to a victory.

Smith’s early alley-oop connection with German big man Maxi Kleber boosted the Mavs to a 5-2 start. The first-year floor general then broke into the scoring with a three-pointer from the wing. Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki lent some assistance at the offensive end of the floor. However, with Curry and Finals MVP Kevin Durant off to fast starts, the Warriors (30-8) surged in front on the scoreboard before taking a 35-26 advantage into the second stanza.

After surrendering 25 combined points to the duo of Curry and Durant in the first quarter, the Mavericks tried to lock in at the defensive end of the floor. Second-year standout Yogi Ferrell also attempted to provide a spark off the bench, swishing a timely three-pointer from the corner after the Warriors opened up a double-digit lead.

The Warriors quickly countered as sharpshooter Klay Thompson caught fire early in the second period. Nowitzki then tried to put the Mavs on his back while moving into double figures. The 7-footer’s pass to backup big man Dwight Powell for a three cut the Dallas deficit to five at 43-38. Powell’s three-point play then made the margin one at 55-54 with 3:48 left in the half. However, the Warriors responded with a 7-0 run at the other end, forcing a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle at the 1:44 mark of the quarter as his team fell behind 62-54. And despite Smith’s thunderous driving dunk and three-pointer to answer Curry’s triple, the Mavericks trailed 67-61 at the midway mark.

Led by Curry’s 20 first-half points on 7-of-11 shooting and 4 of 7 from three-point range, the Warriors outshot the Mavericks through two quarters, 55.6 percent to 47.7 percent. The Warriors also held a 22-18 rebounding edge, forcing six Dallas turnovers to overcome their own five giveaways.

“You know, early on they were making shots, but they were taking the shots that we wanted them to take. I think we held them to six threes at halftime, so we were just following the game plan,” Smith said of the first half.

Opening the second half with Barnes’ score inside, the Mavericks tried to stage a rally in the third quarter. Instead, the Warriors kept their foot on the gas, forcing a Carlisle timeout with 10:31 left in the period after opening up a 72-63 lead.

The Mavs quickly responded behind the long-range shooting of Wesley Matthews, climbing to within three at 74-71 after a pair of three-pointers by the veteran swingman. Smith’s driving score made the margin two a short time later. A jumper by Barnes made it a one-point game from there. And after Curry’s pull-up three put the Warriors up 81-77, back-to-back triples from Matthews and reserve Devin Harris put the Mavs up 84-83. Still, after a technical foul on Harris for a scrum with Warriors big man Jordan Bell as 2:25 remained in the third, the Mavericks trailed 91-89 entering the fourth following Golden State reserve Patrick McCaw’s layup to beat the buzzer.

Swishing a three-pointer after the Warriors opened up a five-point edge early in the final period, Matthews continued to keep his team in the game. Thompson then slid back into the scoring for the Warriors with a pair of long-range jumpers to keep the Mavs at bay. But after Harris’ three-point play with 8:55 remaining, the Mavericks trailed just 100-95.

Powell and backup point guard J.J. Barea then kept the Warriors from pulling away yet again, scoring on back-to-back possessions to bring the Mavs within 104-99 with 7:22 left to play. Barea kept the separation at five with a timely three to answer Draymond Green’s triple at the other end. But after Thompson’s three put the Warriors up 112-102, the visiting team started to distance itself on the scoreboard.

The deficit hit 12 before Powell’s three-pointer and Smith’s two-handed slam righted the ship for the Mavericks, forcing a Golden State timeout with Dallas down 116-107 and 3:30 left to play. A trey by Ferrell kept the Mavs in the game at 120-113 after Curry’s back-to-back layups. Barnes’ two free throws made it a five-point game with 2:01 remaining. A three by Matthews followed as the Mavs came within two. Barnes then capped a 10-0 Dallas run with a jumper after a defensive stop, tying the game at 120-all with 39.7 seconds left to play.

“It was just effort and continuing to believe in the game plan, and we went on a 10-0 run,” Smith later said of the late rally.

Not to be outdone, Thompson put the Warriors back on top with a cutting score to force a Carlisle timeout with 24.2 seconds on the game clock. Barnes answered with a spinning score in the lane to tie the game. But after Curry’s three-pointer with 3.4 ticks left put the Warriors up three, Smith’s desperation attempt as time expired fell short of the rim.

“It was just some miscommunication up top. That’s it, and something we can fix,” Smith said of the final defensive possession. “It was a bad time for it to happen, and I think that was the best look that [Curry] got all night. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a learning situation.”

Scoring 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 7 of 10 from three-point range, Matthews led the Mavericks in a losing effort. Powell tied a career high with 21 points off the bench, grabbing eight rebounds to boot. Barnes pitched in 18 points, and Smith tallied 14 points to go along with eight assists. Barea added 13 points and seven assists in a reserve role, and Nowitzki ended the night with 12 points and eight boards in the first unit.

“This is who we were supposed to be all along. You know, we don’t really have a moral victory here that we took the champs to a one-possession game. We felt in our hearts that we were supposed to win that one,” Matthews admitted. “Obviously, they’re a great team and they’re the champs for a reason, but we’re not happy right now.”

Curry led four Warriors in double figures with 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting, knocking down six of his 13 shots from behind the three-point arc while grabbing five rebounds and dishing eight assists. The Warriors also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 52.7 percent to 47.8 percent, adding a 46-40 rebounding edge and converting Dallas’ 13 turnovers into 20 points.

“We made a great comeback. When you’re 10 or 12 down with three minutes to go, you’ve got to pitch a shutout pretty much,” Carlisle confessed after the game. “We did some great things defensively, we got some steals, hit some threes, and Barnes made a great play to tie it back up after they scored on the Thompson play. And then they ran it back at us. We had a foul to give, but we were unable to give it, and Curry got the shot.”

“It’s tough,” Nowitzki added. “We fought back incredibly hard. We really fought back from an uphill battle all night long. They hit us with cuts and backdoor splits, and they just had too many layups all night long. But we kind of stuck around, we kept fighting, and we made some good plays the last two minutes to kind of get back in it. And it’s obviously a tough way to lose.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor and continue their four-game homestand on Friday night at American Airlines Center against the Chicago Bulls. 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
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

Warriors

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
K. Durant, SF 37 10-21 1-5 4-4 1 11 12 6 0 4 2 1 5 25
D. Green, PF 37 7-11 3-5 1-1 0 11 11 6 1 1 6 2 -10 18
Z. Pachulia, C 11 2-4 0-0 3-4 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 2 -4 7
K. Thompson, SG 36 11-19 3-6 0-0 1 4 5 4 2 1 1 1 1 25
S. Curry, PG 34 11-19 6-13 4-5 0 5 5 8 1 0 3 1 7 32
P. McCaw 21 3-5 0-1 1-2 2 3 5 1 1 0 0 2 9 7
J. Bell 20 0-3 0-0 2-2 2 2 4 1 2 0 0 4 10 2
N. Young 11 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 -3 0
D. West 14 3-3 0-0 1-1 0 1 1 6 1 0 1 3 1 7
S. Livingston 12 1-4 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 -1 2
K. Looney 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McGee 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Boucher 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
O. Casspi 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Q. Cook 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Iguodala 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Jones 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   48-91 13-32 16-19 7 39 46 36 8 7 14 21   125
    52.7% 40.6%                      

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Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 33 7-13 2-5 2-2 0 5 5 4 0 1 1 1 2 18
M. Kleber, PF 15 2-6 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 -1 5
D. Nowitzki, C 24 5-11 0-2 2-3 0 8 8 2 1 0 0 1 -1 12
W. Matthews, SG 37 7-11 7-10 1-2 1 4 5 4 0 0 2 1 0 22
D. Smith Jr., PG 29 6-18 2-8 0-0 0 2 2 8 1 0 2 3 -4 14
S. Mejri 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 0 2 0 -7 0
D. Harris 19 2-7 1-5 1-1 0 3 3 1 1 0 1 3 -18 6
J. Barea 25 3-6 1-2 6-9 1 3 4 7 0 0 3 0 -1 13
Y. Ferrell 21 4-8 3-6 0-0 0 2 2 1 1 0 0 4 11 11
D. Powell 28 7-9 2-2 5-5 5 3 8 2 1 0 1 2 4 21
K. Collinsworth 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
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. 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   43-90 19-43 17-22 7 33 40 29 6 2 12 17   122
    47.8% 44.2%                      

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DALLAS — Despite entering Wednesday night’s matchup against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors tied for the league’s longest current winning streak with four victories in a row, the Dallas Mavericks know they will face a different kind of challenge on their home floor.

Looking to avenge two previous double-digit losses at the hands of the Warriors earlier in the season, the Mavericks (13-25) will attempt to run their winning streak to five. The Mavs will also see two-time MVP Stephen Curry after he missed the second meeting between the teams, hoping to have an answer for the sharpshooter after he returned to the lineup following an 11-game absence with an ankle injury to score 38 points while connecting on 10 three-pointers in the Warriors’ 141-128 home win Saturday over Memphis. That said, the Dallas defense will certainly be challenged for 48 minutes Wednesday night. And according to veteran guard Devin Harris, the Mavericks will have to account for Curry’s whereabouts at all times.

“He does so much for their team, whether it’s shooting, his screen setting or his playmaking ability. But any time he’s on the court, you always have to be aware of where he is,” Harris said with a great amount of respect for Curry’s abilities. “If he’s out there, the court is just so much more open for them, ’cause you’ve got to pay attention to him.”

The Warriors rank second in the league while averaging 115.2 points per game this season, dishing out an NBA-best 30.5 assists per game. They’re also the best three-point shooting squad in the league, connecting on 39 percent as a team from behind the arc. Vice versa, the Mavericks know they’ll be in for a challenge at both ends of the floor. To that point, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle believes that transition defense will serve as the key to the game for his team.

“Well, they’re a great team, and there’s no secret sauce for beating them. You’ve got to play a great overall game for 48 minutes,” Carlisle confessed. “The biggest problem that they poise is in transition. You know, their shooting percentages in transition are historic, really. I can’t imagine that any team is shooting the three in transition over 60 percent. It’s just mind-boggling. So, you know, we’ve got to find the shooters and make it hard. And then defensively, they’re great. They make it hard for you to score, so the ball has got to move. You’ve got to attack, you’ve got to have some very basic strategies that have to be executed hard and with purpose, and you’ve got to have good players. We have good players, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity tonight. We know it’s going to be a big crowd, and we’ve got to get our crowd into it with hard and aggressive play.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on 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
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

DALLAS — Returning to their home floor tied for the NBA’s longest current winning streak at four, the Dallas Mavericks will face their stiffest challenge Wednesday night in the form of the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Sweeping a three-game road trip with stops in Indiana, New Orleans and Oklahoma City, the Mavericks (13-25) return to their home hardwood full of confidence. The Mavs will now attempt to extend their season-best winning streak to five at the reigning champion Golden State Warriors’ expense. But after dropping the previous two matchups against the Warriors (29-8) in lopsided losses earlier this season, the Mavericks know they will have to collectively come together in order to dethrone the defending champions Wednesday night.

“It’s super exciting,” Mavs rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. said while looking forward to Wednesday’s showdown. “We’re the hottest team in the league right now, playing against the world champs. You can’t ask for too much more than that. It don’t sound strange to me. I’ve been expecting this to happen.

“It’s the Mavericks versus the Warriors. We’re the hottest team, they’re reigning champs. We’re looking to keep our streak rolling. That’s for sure.”

Falling to a 133-103 home loss on Oct. 23 at the hands of the Warriors, the Mavericks weren’t able to take advantage of a shorthanded opponent the second time around.

Traveling to Oracle Arena, the Mavs put up a valiant fight for one half before suffering a 112-97 road loss to the Warriors on Dec. 14. The Warriors were also depleted in that game, playing without two-time MVP Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle), reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green (right shoulder soreness), center Zaza Pachulia (left shoulder soreness) and reserve sharpshooter Nick Young (concussion). Dallas was led by 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki’s 18 points and nine rebounds in that loss. However, the Mavs couldn’t contain Finals MVP Kevin Durant as he picked up the slack while tallying 36 points on 15-of-23 shooting, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing seven assists to boot. The Warriors outshot the Mavericks as well during that game, 60.3 percent to 45.1 percent, adding a 41-31 rebounding advantage to overcome the 18 Dallas points scored off 16 Golden State turnovers. Now, with Curry back in the lineup for the Warriors after scoring 38 points and hitting 10 three-pointers in his return during a 141-128 home win Saturday over Memphis, the Mavs know they’ll have another sharpshooter to be concerned about.

“Well, [Curry] is a two-time MVP. He stepped back in the other night and had 38 (points) in 26 minutes. I’d say it helps them. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that it helps them,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle candidly said.

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on 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
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out