Game 73: Mavs vs. Hornets

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Dennis Smith Jr. Throws It Down

Dennis Smith Jr. drives down the middle of the open lane and throws it Down.

DALLAS – Before Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did his postgame press conference Saturday night, he and his team watched the last 90 seconds of the 102-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Carlisle knows the game was still within reach, but the Mavs didn’t do enough at the critical juncture to earn a W.

“This break, tomorrow and Monday, is our last two-day break of the season, so we’re going to be off tomorrow,” Carlisle said. “I want our guys to clear their heads and get rest.

“We had some mistakes and we had some really good plays. We’ve got to re-enforce the good and correct the stuff that needs correcting.”

With the Mavs down 98-94 in the last 90- seconds, they went 2-of-2 from the field and committed a pair of turnovers. The most maddening turnovers occurred with 4.6 seconds remaining when Kemba Walker stripped the ball from Dennis Smith Jr.

The Mavs were only down 100-98 at the time. After the mad scramble for the ball was over, Marvin Williams buried two free throws to close out the scoring.

“I just turned it over,” Smith said. “I got to be better in that situation.

“It’s just a bad play by me.”

That play culminated a night when the Mavs (22-5) only shot 39.6 percent from the field and missed 29 of the 41 shots they took from beyond the 3-point arc.

It was as if the Mavs were off balanced all night as they never could get much separation between themselves and the Hornets (33-41). And the Mavs never could contain Dwight Howard (18 points, 23 rebounds) and Walker (24 points).

The Hornets also made good on 12 of their 25 shots from 3-point range and led by as much as 15 points.

“They killed us from the 3-point line,” Carlisle said. “That was the biggest difference in the game to me.

“Walker really hurt us at key times. We needed to be more efficient. Our rebounding needed to be better, and frankly we need to get the ball in the basket a little bit better.”

Smith, who said he was going to the Mavs’ practice facilities after his postgame interview session so he could work on his shots, was back on the court after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. Smith finished with 21 points, five rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes.

In addition, Smith made a nifty left-handed layup with 36.2 seconds that got the Mavs within 100-98 when he drove the ball right at Howard. But in the end, the Mavs just didn’t make enough solid plays to overcome the Hornets.

“I think we played the whole game,” said center Nerlens Noel, who collected 10 points and 12 rebounds. Guys made plays with me when they needed to (and) got defensive stops.

“The last play I think Dennis tripped a little bit and we just have to play through that. He’s young, he’s going to learn from that. We’ll all take that responsibility for that, just setting it up a little better maybe, but I think we played hard the whole game.”

Harrison Barnes scored nine of his 18 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Mavs nursing a 27-22 lead. Charlotte rebounded and toted a 54-48 lead into the dressing room at the half, and rolled to a 74-59 lead with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Yogi Ferrell (16 points, 7-of-10 shots) and Doug McDermott (14 points, 3-of-5 from 3-point territory) caught fire and helped the Mavs narrow their deficit. Even the Hack-A-Howard worked to the Mavs’ advantage, as the intentional fouls on Howard helped spur the comeback by Dallas.

But when the game was hanging in the balance, Charlotte made all of the critical plays down the stretch.

“It’s very frustrating,” Smith said of the loss. “But it’s just something that you can learn form, watch film, take your lumps and be better next time.

“I think we watched (the film) because we had all of our young guys in. It’s a lot of experience that we have to gain, and you gain that experience by going through those moments and watching film.”

Notes: The Mavs start a two-game road trip Tuesday in Sacramento against the Kings. The brief journey ends Wednesday when the Mavs play the Lakers in Los Angeles before they return home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. . .Coach Rick Carlisle said it’s unlikely the NBA game will return to the days when post play dominated action and the game was played from the inside out. “There will always be some throwing it in there,” Carlisle said. “Guys like (Charlotte center Dwight Howard), I believe, will always be a factor in the post in some way, shape or form. But it’s unlikely that we’re going to see the 90’s, early 2000 basketball. A guy turns out to the wing and throws it, and he throws it in. A guy comes up to the elbow, high-low. It takes too long and you’re not generating enough three’s. By the time we get to – I don’t know what year – all five guys will be shooting threes pretty consistent, I would think.”

Hornets

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
M. Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 22 1-9 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 0 0 1 0 1 -3 2
M. Williams, PF 23 3-5 1-2 2-2 3 6 9 2 0 0 1 1 -2 9
D. Howard, C 33 6-12 0-1 6-12 1 22 23 2 0 1 1 2 -6 18
J. Lamb, SG 31 5-14 2-6 2-4 1 2 3 4 1 0 1 1 -3 14
K. Walker, PG 34 9-17 4-8 2-2 0 2 2 2 3 1 5 2 0 24
D. Bacon 27 3-9 0-0 3-3 0 4 4 2 2 0 1 2 7 9
F. Kaminsky 24 3-7 1-2 2-2 1 4 5 6 0 0 2 1 6 9
M. Monk 15 4-12 3-5 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 7 11
T. Graham 13 1-3 1-1 0-0 2 1 3 1 1 0 0 2 4 3
W. Hernangomez 14 0-4 0-0 3-4 3 4 7 1 1 1 1 2 10 3
M. Paige 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Stone 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
N. Batum 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Carter-Williams 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Mathiang 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Zeller 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   35-92 12-25 20-29 13 49 62 21 10 4 13 14   102
    38.0% 48.0%                      

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Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 35 6-20 5-11 1-2 2 5 7 2 0 0 1 2 3 18
D. Nowitzki, PF 22 2-9 0-5 0-0 0 10 10 1 0 2 1 2 -12 4
D. Powell, C 18 0-3 0-2 4-4 0 8 8 3 0 2 3 4 -6 4
D. Finney-Smith, SG 27 0-4 0-2 1-2 0 4 4 1 2 0 0 1 5 1
D. Smith Jr., PG 32 8-17 2-6 3-4 2 3 5 6 0 0 2 2 5 21
N. Noel 26 5-8 0-0 0-0 1 11 12 2 4 1 1 3 8 10
D. McDermott 24 4-8 3-5 3-3 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 4 0 14
J. Barea 24 4-10 1-5 1-2 0 2 2 5 1 0 3 0 -12 10
Y. Ferrell 24 7-10 1-4 1-2 0 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 -5 16
M. Kleber 2 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 -6 0
K. Collinsworth 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Harrison 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Mejri 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
J. Jones 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
W. Matthews 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
TEAM   36-91 12-41 14-19 5 47 52 22 10 6 12 22   98
    39.6% 29.3%                      

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Dennis Smith Jr. Finishes With The Layup

Dennis Smith Jr. maneuvers through the defense goes up and under to finish strong with the layup.


Harrison Barnes With the Put-Back

Dennis Smith Jr. Misses the free-throw and Harrison Barnes gets the rebound and rises up for the two-hand slam.


J.J. Barea To Yogi Ferrell

J.J. Barea dishes the one-hand pass down low to Yogi Ferrell under the basket for the reverse layup.


Practice Report: Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on his health, returning to action tomorrow against Charlotte and more.


Practice Report: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on tomorrow's game against Charlotte, Dennis' potential return to the lineup and more.

DALLAS – Now that he’s healthy and ready to play basketball again, Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. wants to play basketball again.

Smith is tone deaf to the critics who wants him to play it safe and sat out the remaining 10 games of the season so he can really make sure his injured left ankle has healed. He calls that notion hogwash.

Thus, after missing just two games with a sprained left ankle, Smith will be back in the starting lineup Saturday night at 7:30 when the Dallas Mavericks entertain the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Center.

Smith told reporters after Friday’s practice that he doesn’t see any value in sitting out games if he’s healthy and ready to play.

“I don’t really see the meaning of that,” Smith said. “I’m here to play basketball, so whenever I’m able to compete I’m going to go out and do that.”

Coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs have “been pretty careful” in monitoring the health of Smith’s ankle and wouldn’t risk playing him if they had concerns about it.

“He’s chomping at the bit to play,” Carlisle said. “If there was any doubt about his health we would certainly hold him out.

“But at this point that’s not the case. If something where to change tomorrow we would hold him out another game, but he seems to be doing very well.”

Smith went through Friday’s entire practice session with no issues. He even stayed after practice and got involved in several games of trash-talking 3-point shooting contests with assistant coach Darrell Armstrong.

“It feels good,” Smith said of his ankle. “I’ll be ready to go for tomorrow’s game.”

Smith injured his ankle with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter of last Saturday’s game at Brooklyn. At the time, Smith was in the midst of playing his best game of the season.

The rookie point guard from North Carolina State finished that game with 21 points, five assists and two blocks in just 23 minutes. Then came the injury which handcuffed Smith for the balance of that game.

“When that happened he did turn the ankle over, but his full weight did not land on it,” Carlisle said. “We got lucky on that, but he looked good today.

“These 10 games are an opportunity.”

Smith will be matched Saturday against Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, who tallied 46 points as Charlotte totally embarrassed the Memphis Grizzlies, winning 140-79, on Thursday night. Walker was 13-of-18 from the field – 10-of-14 from 3-point range – and 10-of-10 from the free throw line in having his way with the Grizzlies.

“He’s a good point guard, an All-Star point guard,” Smith said. “It’s going to be exciting.

“I’m going to go out and compete and give it my all and hopefully we’ll get a win.”

Carlisle also recognizes the challenges trying to contend with a player of Walker’s stature.

“He’s a great player,” Carlisle said. “It’s a tough job for Dennis and Yogi (Ferrell), but we’ve got to do everything possible to stay in front and take his open threes away.

“That’s where he’s really made a quantum leap this year with his ability to consistently bang in 3-point shots. Now you’ve got to come out on him, and now his quickness becomes an even bigger factor.”

Carlisle just hopes Smith can also become an even bigger factor. And pick up where the left off – sans the injury – against Brooklyn.

“It’s well above 50 percent that he will (play),” Carlisle said. “I always want to leave the possibility that he could have some lingering whatever from today’s practice.

“We did some things, we did some contact, but I expect him to play.”

Notes: Tonight’s game between the Mavs (22-50) and Charlotte Hornets (32-41) tips off at 7:30 from American Airlines Center. 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. . .The Mavs are 26-5 in their last 31 games against Charlotte. . .In a road game against the Hornets on Jan. 10, Yogi Ferrell scored 22 points and was 7-of-10 from 3-point territory as the Mavs won, 115-111. The Mavs also got a team-high 25 points and 11 rebounds from Harrison Barnes in that contest. Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 41 points on 16-of-28 field goals. . .The Mavs hold an all-time record of 37-17 against the Hornets, including 20-7 at home.. . .The Hornets are coming off a massive victory. On Thursday against a Memphis team that has clearly thrown in the towel, the Hornets spanked the Grizzlies, winning 140-79. The 61 points represents the largest margin of victory in an NBA game since 1998, and is only the sixth time ever that a team has lost by 60 or more points. Charlotte led that game, 112-57, after the third quarter. “Sometimes you get in a perfect storm situation,” coach Rick Carlisle saying, adding he hadn’t seen that game yet. “Memphis has had struggles all year and Charlotte’s got a lot of skilled guys. If you’re missing and they’re making and you’re undermanned, that could be a recipe for disaster.”. . Mavs point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was busy working on his floaters after Friday’s practice session. “It’s a work in progress,” Smith said. “It’s something that I work on every day. I get a lot of reps in pre-game, practice and even at nighttime. Eventually I’ll groove it into my game, but right now I’m just working on it.”. .Hornets center Dwight Howard will be back in the lineup Saturday. Howard missed Thursday’s game against Memphis after drawing a mandatory one-game suspension from the NBA for collecting his 16th technical foul. “He’s had a big statistical year again,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s always been a tough matchup for us because of his size and strength, so it’s going to be a tag-team deal (guarding him). We’re going to have to have double teams ready. It really is as much a team responsibility as it is the guy who’s guarding him.”. .Even though he grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., Dennis Smith Jr. didn’t grow up as a fan of the Hornets. He said his home was three hours away. “I never went to a game, so I didn’t have a reason to really like them,” Smith said. “It is what it is.” Smith also said he didn’t have a favorite basketball team growing up. Smith said: “They’re just players to me.”

Injury updates

Seth Curry (left leg surgery) – out
Wesley Matthews (fractured right proximal fibula) – out