Mejri Strides For The Slam
Harrison Barnes dishes the bounce pass to Salah Mejri who pushes inside for the dunk.
DALLAS – Thursday was one of those nights where anything the Dallas Mavericks did, the Utah Jazz did it a little bit better.
“Shot-making was our deodorant tonight, because defensive we weren’t getting much done,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a dangerous game to play and we’re just going to have to do better defensively.
“If we do better defensively we’ll make even more shots. But 37 (points allowed) in the first quarter and 31 in the third, that’s just an awful lot of points to give up. I know we can do better.”
A hoop at the buzzer by former Mavs forward Jae Crowder helped stake the Jazz to a 65-58 lead at intermission. Then, Utah started the third quarter on a vicious 11-2 run and stretched that advantage to 73-60 following back-to-back three-pointers by Rubio, who finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five steals.
With Mitchell (26 points) cranking it up offensively, the Jazz widen their lead to 88-68 late in the third quarter. But the Mavs (22-50) caught fire and whittled the deficit down to 115-109 after newcomer Aaron Harrison, who signed a 10-day contract on Thursday, drained a 17-footer with 1:17 remaining in the game.
“He certainly got his feet wet,” Carlisle said of Harrison. “We just want to see what he can do and if he’s a guy that can help us now and possibly in the future.
“He came in (Thursday) morning and tried to learn our offensive and defensive concepts. I think he got thrown in against the hottest team in the league with some good defenders, and it’s not an easy situation.”
With the Mavs making a strong run, Mitchell – one of the leading candidates to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award – scored on consecutive driving layups as Utah pulled ahead with a comfortable 119-109 cushion with only 35.3 ticks to go.
The Mavs shot 49.4 percent from the field and tossed in 17 of their 32 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. But Carlisle admits their defense wasn’t up to par, and that created trouble in the end.
“I can’t get into too much detail because I haven’t watched the film yet, but there were (defensive) breakdowns,” Carlisle said. “Utah is one of the best teams in the league at really hurting you when you make defensive mistakes because all of their perimeter players can really elevate and not only hit rollers, but they hit guys in the corners and on the wings for threes.
“They’re a really good 3-point shooting team.”
J.J. Barea (23 points, eight assists), Harrison Barnes (21 points) and Yogi Ferrell (20 points) were the top producers for the Mavs. Barea praised the Jazz for the way they picked the Mavs apart on the offensive end of the floor.
“They’re a great team, well coached, great players, they play together, and man, they were hot,” Barea said. “We were hot, too, but they were a little bit hotter.
“It was a shootout and they just kept it longer.”
Notes: The Mavs host the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. before hitting the road for a two-game trip that starts Tuesday in Sacramento. The trip ends Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Lakers before the Mavs return home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Mar. 30. . .Guard Aaron Harrison, who the Mavs signed to a 10-day contract on Thursday, played 20 minutes Thursday night against the Utah Jazz and finished with six points and two rebounds and was 2-of-5 from the field. Guard J.J. Barea said of Harrison: “He’s fighting to get in the NBA and to stay here and I think he did a great job tonight.”. .Kyle Collinsworth only played the final 5:06 of Thursday’s game. Collinsworth, who played his college ball at Brigham Young, collected one point, three rebounds and blocked a shot. . .Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Coach Rick Carlisle said: “Tomorrow is a practice day, so we’ll see what he can do tomorrow. He’s going to be back at some point reasonably soon, but I don’t know exactly when.” . .When it came to small forward Jae Crowder, coach Rick Carlisle was dishing out plenty praise prior to Thursday’s game against the Jazz. Crowder played for the Mavs from 2012 until they traded him to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 18, 2014 as part of the Dwight Powell/Rajon Rondo deal. “He turned out to be one of the most resourceful guys to come into the league,” Carlisle said of Crowder. “He just finds ways to win. He’s learned how to shoot the three consistently.” Carlisle said he got to know Crowder’s father pretty well. Crowder, who now plays for the Jazz, complimented Carlisle for helping his career prosper. “He did a good job of molding me,” Crowder said. “When I came here I didn’t know much. I had a good older group of locker room guys and I learned a lot from those guys and I tried to take that and put that into how I look at the game and my outlook on the game, and it took me to where I’m at today. A lot of hard work has been a part of my regiment and what I’m about, and I carry that with me wherever I go in the world.” And wherever Crowder goes, he reminds people of the great time he had playing for the Mavs. “Dallas will always be home for me,” Crowder said. “This is where it started. I always have good memories (of Dallas) and I miss it every time I come here.”
|J. Ingles, SF||34||7-10||3-5||1-1||0||6||6||10||0||0||2||3||20||18|
|D. Favors, PF||31||8-14||1-2||2-2||4||3||7||5||1||1||1||2||12||19|
|R. Gobert, C||35||3-4||0-0||5-5||2||5||7||2||2||5||0||3||-2||11|
|D. Mitchell, SG||36||11-22||1-6||3-4||1||4||5||4||3||0||1||1||5||26|
|R. Rubio, PG||33||8-14||4-8||2-2||0||5||5||3||5||0||5||5||2||22|
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|H. Barnes, SF||32||8-18||5-6||0-0||1||3||4||2||1||0||1||2||-10||21|
|D. Nowitzki, PF||24||2-6||0-2||0-0||0||1||1||0||1||1||2||2||-12||4|
|D. Powell, C||18||1-5||0-1||3-4||0||3||3||1||1||1||0||0||-15||5|
|D. Finney-Smith, SG||23||2-4||2-3||0-0||0||5||5||2||0||1||2||2||-11||6|
|J. Barea, PG||27||9-15||5-7||0-0||0||2||2||8||0||0||0||1||-13||23|
|D. Smith Jr.||0||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
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One-on-one with Aaron Harrison
New Mav Aaron Harrison goes one-on-one with Bobby Karalla prior to tonight's game against the Jazz.
Shootaround: Aaron Harrison
New Mav Aaron Harrison dishes on getting a call up from the G-League, how he can help the team and more.
Shootaround: Rick Carlisle
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on tonight's game against the Jazz.
DALLAS – At high school in the Houston area and at college at the University of Kentucky, Aaron Harrison and his twin brother, Andrew, were the star attractions.
But that hasn’t been the case thus far in the National Basketball Association.
Andrew was a McDonald’s All-American, was drafted on the second round by Phoenix in 2015, played some NBA G-League ball for the Iowa Energy and presently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. Aaron was a McDonald’s and Parade All-American, played two seasons for the Charlotte Bobcats, and also punched the time clock for five different G-League squads before signing a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks this morning.
The new gig with the Mavs has brought new life to Aaron Harrison.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Harrison, who was named Texas Mr. Basketball in 2013. “It’s a different experience than a lot of guys, but I wouldn’t trade it.
“It’s taught me to become a man and I’m grateful for it.”
The spot to sign Harrison became available when the 10-day contract on center Jameel Warney expired after Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Instead of signing Warney to a second 10-day contract, the Mavs chose a shooting guard, while Warney returned to play for the Texas Legends.
With shooting guard Wesley Matthews out for the season with a fractured proximal fibula.
“We’re looking for guys that fit into what we’re doing here culturally and as a team,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Obviously from a skills standpoint we’ve been overloaded with centers all year long.
“If you count all our guys that can play center as centers, we’ve got seven or eight of them all year and we’ve been light on wing players. With Wes out and we let Warney go back to the Legends, we have one spot to rotate, so right now Aaron’s got the shot and hopefully he’ll make the best of it.”
In 41 games for the Reno Bighorns this season Harrison averaged 18.7 and 4.4 rebounds in just 26.9 minutes and shot 43.7 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from behind the 3-point line. He also made eight three-pointers while scoring 45 points in a game this past Saturday against the Oklahoma City Blue.
When the Mavs host the Utah Jazz tonight at 7:30 at American Airlines Center, Harrison (6-6, 210) doesn’t believe he has to come out firing to impress Carlisle and his coaching staff.
“But I definitely want to impact the game in a way so we can win,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing in the league right now.
“People are looking for guys that are going to help their team win, and I think I can do that. So that’s what I’m going to come out here and do.”
Harrison enjoyed a distinguished college career and helped Kentucky reach the NCAA Final 4 in 2014 and ‘2015. The 2014 Final 4 was played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and Harrison hit the game-winning shot to help the Wildcats beat Wisconsin in the semifinals before they went on to lose to Connecticut in the championship game.
“We were an eighth seed and we had a good run to the championship game,” Harrison said. “But we didn’t win it all.”
Carlisle, who admitted he didn’t know Harrison that well, leaned on an old friend before signing the Fort Bend Travis (Pecan Grove, TX) High School standout.
“We had him early this morning to run through some things,” Carlisle said. “I talked to Jeff Van Gundy about him, who coached him on the USA team.
“Jeff had positive things to say about him. We’ll put him out there tonight, and he’s got a shot.”
Harrison led Travis High School to the Class 5A state championship with a victory over South Grand Prairie in 2013. He hopes he can rekindle some of that magic that made him a household name in high school and college.
“I’ve been working really hard this year,” Harrison said. “Just a blessing, I’m really excited to be here, honored to be here.”
Carlisle said he wasn’t familiar with Harrison’s college career.
“I know he and his brother were good players,” Carlisle said. “Look, things happen. Sometimes your career takes a roundabout twist, but if you stay focused and believe in yourself and commit to developing an NBA skill you’ve got a chance.
“Opportunities like this are extremely important and very valuable. It’s the moment. You’ve got a shot, so it’s exciting for him and I’m pulling for him.”
Notes: The Mavs (22-49) open a two-game home stand tonight at 7:30 CT against the Utah Jazz (40-31). The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game also can be heard in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. . .Utah is 5-1 in its last six games against the Mavs. The Jazz won this seaosn’s two earlier meeting, and they both were played in Utah. On Oct. 30, the Jazz defeated the Mavs, 104-89. And on Feb. 24, the Jazz upended the Mavs, 97-90. . . Harrison Barnes has six gams with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, and 13 games where he scored at least 25 points. . .Dirk Nowitzki has five double-doubles and five games when he’s scored at least 20 points. His season high is 23 points. . .The Mavs are 4-0 with J.J. Barea scores at least 20 points. He also has 10 games when he dished out at least 10 assists. . .Dirk Nowitzki is first among active players and fourth all-time in regular-season minutes played with 50,412. The 20-year veteran needs just seven minutes to surpass Kevin Garnett (50,418) for third place on the NBA’s all-time minutes played list. Ex-Utah Jazz Jazz great Karl Malone ranks second with 54,852 minutes. Nowitzki also has 1,198 steals and needs just two more to join Derek Harper (1,551) as the only Mavs to record at least 1,200 steals. . .Center Salah Mejri has missed the past five games with a strained right hamstring. Asked about Mejri’s status for tonight’s game, coach Rick Carlisle said : “Single.” After some laughter, Carlisle said Mejri would be available to play against the Jazz.
Seth Curry (left leg surgery) – out
Wesley Matthews (fractured right proximal fibula) – out
Dennis Smith Jr. (left ankle sprain) — out
DALLAS – This has definitely been a trying season for the four players for the Dallas Mavericks who earned their keep this year with the NBA G-League’s Texas Legends.
Guard Kyle Collinsworth has been the most fortunate of the quartet, but the ride to the NBA wasn’t easy. Collinsworth started the season with the Legends and then signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Mavs in January.
However, after Collinsworth’s second 10-day contract expired, he found himself back with the Legends. That is until two days later when the Mavs awarded the Brigham Young product a three-year contract – the last two years are a team option.
“I felt I played well and I did a lot of good things, but you just never know,” said Collinsworth, reminiscing about his three-year contract. “There’s a lot you can control, so the biggest thing is to just control what you can.
“Just take care of what you can and do it one day at a time. That’s the mindset I’ve had and I continued to have.”
While Collinsworth has played in 24 games, another Texas Legends player – forward Johnathan Motley – has played in just five games with the Mavs while averaging 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in six minutes per contest. But just being in the NBA and learning some of the nuances of the game have been a huge bonus for Motley.
“I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity and just do everything I can to get better and try to help the team get some late-season W’s,” said Motley, who is one of the Mavs’ two-way players. “A lot of rookies, sometimes you come up and you don’t play at all.
“Me being able to go down there (to the Legends) and play a lot of minutes and get better, I think that helped a lot.”
Jalen Jones also valued his time with the Legends. But like any player, he long for the opportunity to play in the NBA.
In six games with the Mavs, Jones is averaging 4.5 points in 10.3 minutes per contest. And his biggest claim to fame came last Saturday when the small forward from Texas A&M scored a career-high 16 points against the Brooklyn Nets.
“Coach said that minutes were available (against the Nets) and I just kind of wanted to be prepared to go out there and try to do whatever I could to try to help the team win,” said Jones, who also has a two-way contract. “A couple of shots fell in for me and I got my rhythm going and my teammates did a great job of finding me in the right spots.”
Meanwhile, Jameel Warney’s 10-day contract expired after Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. In three games with the Mavs, Warney averaged 5.7 points and three rebounds in nine minutes per game.
As the Mavs are in the midst of developing their young players, coach Rick Carlisle likes what he’s seen from the Texas Legends products going into Thursday’s 7 p.m. game at American Airlines Center against the Utah Jazz.
“They’ve all done good things,” Carlisle said. “Collinsworth obviously has gotten the deal for the rest of the year, and Jones played a terrific game in Brooklyn.
“He’s making strides, his shooting is getting better. I love the way he goes hard all the time.”
As far as Motley and Warney are concerned, Carlisle said: “Motley did a nice job the other night and Warney’s done real well in spot minutes. We’re seeing a lot of good things from these guys.”
Of course, the ultimate G-League-to-the-NBA player on the Mavs’ roster is guard Yogi Ferrell. Last year when the Mavs were experiencing a plethora of injuries in the backcourt, they plucked Ferrell from the Long Island Nets of the G-League and he became such an instant success that he signed a multi-year deal less two weeks after joining the Mavs.
“I remember when I first came in somebody on this team gave me the advice of coming in and basically doing what you do,” Ferrell said. “They said don’t play timid, don’t try and just mesh with the team.
“They said go out there and do what you do play to your strengths.”
Ferrell’s best advice to the G-Leaguers on the Mavs’ roster?
“Honestly, the main thing I just tell them is when we get out here, do as much as we can to win games,” Ferrell said. “I feel like people will see who’s on the court, who’s producing and who’s winning games. Then they’ll see if they can be an added piece to the organization.”
Carlisle’s best advice to the G-League players on his team is to “keep things simple, develop an NBA skill and just keep busting your butt.”
Collinsworth, who made his first start of the season against the Pelicans, admitted that every day is a learning experience when he’s one of the new kids on the block.
“I’m trying to watch from the point guard position – J.J. Barea a lot – and how he operates,” Collinsworth said. “And from the wing, I’m watching Harrison Barnes.
“And I’m just trying to learn every day, learn the system, learn the NBA and just keep getting better. There’s been some ups and downs and I’m just trying to stay even keel and keep progressing and keep getting better.”
And the best thing about learning on the fly, at least the four players can look around and see some familiar faces, since they were all with the Legends at the same time at some point.
“It’s always good to see familiar faces,” said Motley, who played his college ball at Baylor. “We went down there together and now we’re up here together.
“So it’s always good to see familiar faces and just to see everybody’s success.”
Notes: The Mavs (22-49) open a two-game home stand tonight at 7:30 CT against the Utah Jazz (40-31). The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game also can be heard in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. . .Utah is 5-1 in its last six games against the Mavs. The Jazz won this season’s two earlier meetings, and they both were played in Utah. On Oct. 30, the Jazz defeated the Mavs, 104-89. And on Feb. 24, the Jazz upended the Mavs, 97-90. . . Harrison Barnes has six games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, and 13 games where he’s scored at least 25 points. . .Dirk Nowitzki has five double-doubles and five games when he’s scored at least 20 points. His season high is 23 points. . .The Mavs are 4-0 with J.J. Barea scores at least 20 points. He also has 10 games when he dished out at least 10 assists. . .Dirk Nowitzki is first among active players and fourth all-time in regular-season minutes played with 50,412. The 20-year veteran needs just seven minutes to surpass Kevin Garnett (50,418) for third place on the NBA’s all-time minutes played list. Ex-Utah Jazz Jazz great Karl Malone ranks second with 54,852 minutes. Nowitzki also has 1,198 steals and needs just two more to join Derek Harper (1,551) as the only Mavs to record at least 1,200 steals.
Seth Curry (left leg surgery) – out
Wesley Matthews (fractured right proximal fibula) – out
Dennis Smith Jr. (left ankle sprain) — out