Game 9: Mavs at Clippers

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Smith Jr. One-Handed Slam

Dennis Smith Jr. drives down the lane and throws down the one-handed slam.

LOS ANGELES — Limping into the Staples Center on a three-game losing skid, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to spark an early-season surge up the standings with a signature win on the road Wednesday night.

Matching up with the high-octane Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavericks tried to begin the resurgence with a coveted road win after starting their two-game trip with a 104-89 loss Monday in Utah. The Mavs also attempted to bring their turnover woes to an end after committing 56 combined giveaways during the previous three games. But despite getting off to a fast start with a shakeup to the lineup, the Mavericks (1-8) couldn’t sustain their early success while falling to a lopsided 119-98 loss to conclude their two-game road trip.

“I mean, it’s not what we prepared for, but it’s kind of the hole we dug ourselves in,” veteran combo guard Devin Harris said after the loss. “We’ve just got to continue to fight. I mean, we’ve shown stretches where we’ve played well, but we’ve yet to put it together for a full game. You know, we’ve had some close ones and have kind of dwindled at the end, but we’ve just got to continue to look at the positive and try to put it together for as many minutes as we can during this stretch.”

In need of a spark after several sluggish starts, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle made a change to the first unit while inserting Harris and sitting 23-year-old center Nerlens Noel. Meanwhile, Harris made his first start since Nov. 29, 2014, opening the game with an assist to 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki before his own score the next trip down the floor.

“It was a little bit different. Obviously, usually I’m trying to catch the pace when I come into the game, and starting you get to set it a little bit better. And I thought we got off to a good start, but I’m not going to get used to it. I know it’s not something [Carlisle] likes to do. I think anything is on the table right now to try to get us out of this rut. We’re going to try some different lineups and see what works,” Harris would later say.

After rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s thunderous slam, the Mavericks held an early 9-7 edge. Smith stayed on the attack from there with a three-pointer to put the Mavs up 12-7. Versatile forward Harrison Barnes and Harris followed suit a short time later, swishing back-to-back threes as the Mavericks built an 18-10 advantage. Smith slid back into the scoring with another triple. Still, despite a technical foul on Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley for arguing with the officials at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter, the home team would rally from an eight-point deficit to take a 32-29 edge into the second stanza.

Falling into a widening hole as the second quarter got underway, Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout after a three from Clippers sixth man Lou Williams made the Dallas deficit 37-29 with 10:11 left in the first half. The stoppage wouldn’t cool the Clippers (5-2) down, however, after back-to-back dunks from backup big man Montrezl Harrell gave the L.A. team a double-digit lead.

Nowitzki then tried to will his team back into the game, increasing his aggression after scoring a season-high 18 points during Monday’s loss. Harris lent some assistance with a triple to bring the Mavs within 11, 51-40. Reserve big man Maxi Kleber added another three-pointer after the Clippers threatened to pull away again. But even Harris’ 12 first-half points wouldn’t be enough to keep the Mavericks from trailing by as many as 21 later in the quarter, entering the intermission down by 18 at 66-48.

Led by Blake Griffin’s 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first half, the Clippers outshot the Mavericks through two quarters, 57.9 percent to 39.1 percent. The Clippers also held a 23-18 rebounding edge, overcoming Dallas’ 13 points off L.A.’s five turnovers in the half.

“It started to get ugly for us in the second quarter, and we just dug ourselves a hole that we didn’t get out of,” Smith matter-of-factly admitted.

Opening the second half with a score by Barnes, the Mavericks tried to make a charge behind their leading scorer in the third period. But after a two-handed slam by Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in transition, Carlisle was again forced to use a timeout after his team fell into a 76-54 hole with 8:43 in the third period.

Smith and Nowitzki refused to go away quietly, continuing to keep the Mavericks’ hopes of a comeback alive during the quarter. A pair of three-pointers by swingman Wesley Matthews would follow to bring the Mavs within 19, 88-69. But after a technical foul was assessed on backup guard J.J. Barea during a scrum with Griffin as 2:04 remained in the third, the momentum would swing back in the favor of the Clippers to send the Mavericks into the fourth down by 18, 95-77.

The Clippers’ lead then reached 28 early in the final period, leading Carlisle to empty his bench and finish out the game with the Dallas reserves.

Scoring 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, Smith led the Mavericks in a losing effort. Barnes added 14 points in the first unit, and Nowitzki pitched in 13 points to go with eight rebounds. Harris registered 12 points in the starting lineup, and Matthews finished with 11 points as all five starters reached double figures. Meanwhile, Kleber scored 11 points off the bench.

Griffin led five Clippers in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, grabbing six rebounds and dishing seven assists to boot. The Clippers also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 53.2 percent to 39.3 percent, adding a 48-38 rebounding advantage to overshadow Dallas’ 16 points off 16 L.A. turnovers.

“We got off to a great start. Dennis was putting the best vertical pressure on the defense that he has all year. We got up 18-10, and then we had a bad gamble out of the corner that gave up a three and we had a couple of catastrophic turnovers that got them going in their building. And before you know it, we were playing out of a hole again,” Carlisle concluded. “Our margins for error are extremely slim, and we’ve just got to be better. We’ve got to be more disciplined, and we’ve got to do better.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. That 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:

Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee effusion) — questionable
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
W. Matthews, SF 27 4-7 2-4 1-1 0 1 1 4 0 0 0 2 -8 11
H. Barnes, PF 30 6-11 1-4 1-2 0 4 4 2 2 0 2 3 -12 14
D. Nowitzki, C 21 5-11 1-3 2-2 1 7 8 3 0 1 1 0 -4 13
D. Harris, SG 19 4-7 3-4 1-2 1 1 2 2 0 1 1 3 2 12
D. Smith Jr., PG 27 6-15 2-5 4-5 0 2 2 2 1 0 6 1 -9 18
N. Noel 16 1-3 0-0 2-2 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 2 -22 4
Y. Ferrell 25 4-12 1-4 0-0 0 4 4 2 1 0 2 3 -13 9
J. Barea 18 0-9 0-4 2-2 0 2 2 3 0 0 0 4 -22 2
M. Kleber 20 4-4 1-1 2-2 1 2 3 0 2 0 0 2 -13 11
D. Powell 17 0-7 0-5 0-0 1 3 4 1 2 0 2 2 -9 0
S. Mejri 9 0-0 0-0 1-2 3 0 3 1 0 2 0 0 5 1
J. Withey 4 1-3 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 3
G. Clavell 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
TEAM   35-89 12-36 16-20 9 29 38 20 8 5 14 22   98
    39.3% 33.3%                      

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Clippers

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
D. Gallinari, SF 25 5-10 3-7 1-1 0 6 6 4 1 0 0 2 20 14
B. Griffin, PF 28 7-12 2-4 4-4 0 6 6 7 1 0 2 1 8 20
D. Jordan, C 24 4-6 0-0 5-8 3 6 9 0 1 2 3 2 9 13
A. Rivers, SG 25 7-12 2-4 3-3 0 0 0 3 1 0 2 2 8 19
P. Beverley, PG 23 2-5 2-5 2-2 0 1 1 3 3 0 0 2 10 8
W. Johnson 25 3-6 0-2 3-4 1 4 5 1 1 0 0 1 19 9
W. Reed 10 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 6 6 0 0 1 1 2 8 2
L. Williams 18 5-8 2-3 5-5 0 4 4 4 0 0 1 0 13 17
S. Thornwell 23 1-4 0-1 1-2 1 0 1 3 0 1 0 4 13 3
M. Harrell 12 4-6 0-0 0-0 2 6 8 1 0 1 1 0 4 8
S. Dekker 9 1-2 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 3 0 -5 3
J. Evans 7 1-4 1-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 1 -2 3
B. Johnson 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0 0
M. Teodosic 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Williams 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Wilson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   41-78 13-28 24-29 7 42 49 27 9 5 16 20   119
    52.6% 46.4%                      

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Smith Jr. And-1 Lay In

Dennis Smith Jr. drives to the rim and hits the and-1 layup.


Shootaround Report: Coach Carlisle

Mavs Head Coach Rick Carlisle previews tonight's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after shootaround.

Practice Report: Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavs PG Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on how other teams are scheming for him defensively, tomorrow's game against the Clippers and more.

Practice Report: Coach Carlisle

Mavs Head Coach Rick Carlisle looks ahead to tomorrow's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after practice at USC.

LOS ANGELES — Despite trading All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Houston this summer in a multi-player exchange, the Los Angeles Clippers have remained one of the top contenders in the Western Conference early in the 2017-18 season due to their added depth.

Sending Paul to Houston in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations, the Clippers (4-2) were expected to take a step back this season. Instead, the L.A. team currently holds the second-best record in the West, making Wednesday’s nationally-televised matchup against the Dallas Mavericks even more intriguing. And with the Dallas team currently on a three-game losing streak, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knows his players will have to perform at a high level in order to take the Clippers down on their home floor.

“There are some differences, but their guard play is still excellent and they’re deeper at the guard position because they have Beverley and Williams and (Austin) Rivers,” Carlisle said while comparing last year’s Clippers team to the ’17-18 squad. “(Milos) Teodosic has been out, but when he gets back he’s a (heck) of a player. (Blake) Griffin is the major, major problem, and they’ve got other problems, too. (Danilo) Gallinari has been a good addition, because it gives them a scorer and spacing on the floor, and he gets to the free-throw line. And you know, they’ve just done a really good job of tweaking things.”

While the Mavericks (1-7) expect to have their hands full with the Clippers for 48 minutes, rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. will face his own daunting individual matchup Wednesday night.

Smith will likely be pressured for the full length of the court by the defensive-minded Beverley for four quarters. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old will attempt to hold his own against one of the top perimeter defenders in the league. And after studying film of Beverley, the Mavericks believe Smith is more than ready for the challenge ahead.

“It’s a challenge. We’ve showed him film and talked to him about it, and he’s going to have to be aggressive,” Carlisle said of Smith’s head-to-head matchup with Beverley. “He’s going to have to be smart with it. The first time around you’re seeing things for the first time. But they’re seeing him for the first time, too, so he’s got to bring his game in a big way, too.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Los Angeles for Wednesday’s matchup against the Clippers. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing nationally on ESPN and 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 American Airlines Center on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. That 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:

Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee effusion) — questionable
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

LOS ANGELES — After piling turnovers proved to be their downfall Monday night in Utah, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves looking to bring a three-game losing skid to an end on the road Wednesday against the high-octane Los Angeles Clippers.

Surrendering 33 points off their 24 turnovers during Monday’s 104-89 loss to the Jazz, the Mavericks (1-7) continued their sluggish start to the season. They’ll now attempt to bounce back away from home to end their two-game road trip. But with Wednesday’s matchup against the Clippers (4-2) taking place in front of a nationally-televised audience, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows his players will have to correct the miscues that have plagued them in the last three games.

“Well, we need to focus on daily improvement in all areas,” Carlisle confessed after Tuesday’s team practice at the University of Southern California. “The turnover problem (Monday night) was a huge one, and we worked on that. We’re continuing to work on the rebounding, and we’ve just got to keep the ball moving and be able to play through tough spots.

“I love the rebounding and hated the turnovers (Monday in Utah). You know, it’s real disappointing, but it’s a metaphor for where we are. We’ve got to put everything together to give ourselves the best chance, so (Wednesday) is another opportunity and we’ve just got to keep working. Guys’ spirits are good. Everybody is sticking with it and working hard. We’ve just got to keep pushing.”

Scoring a season-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 4 of 5 from three-point range, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki grabbed five rebounds to lead the Mavericks during Monday’s losing effort. He’ll now attempt to lead the Mavs to a victory, facing off with a Clippers team that’s eager to redeem itself after Monday’s 141-113 home loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. And while expecting to face an angry L.A. team, Nowitzki says the Mavericks must collectively increase their level of play in order to return to Dallas with a coveted road victory under their belt.

“Individual performances don’t matter in a loss. Yeah, I shot the ball well (on Monday), but overall we just weren’t good enough,” Nowitzki explained. “We had stretches where at both ends everything was just a little bit too easy for them. They took us out of our offense there in the third quarter with some of their switching, and on their end they made some shots.

“Just have a little more balance and a little more defensive presence,” he added. “You know, be better on the rebounding, and then offensively I think at times we get a little stagnant. We’ve got to move the ball, work for good shots and not settle for bad ones. You know, just have a little more presence about our game, about our defense and not turn the ball over. I think that’s been an issue here and there, so we’ve just got to be more balanced from the get-go. I always like our fight when we get behind, but in this league it’s going to get you beat more than not. Not a lot of teams win from behind consistently, so you’ve got to play from in front some, especially on the road. And you’ve got to have good starts, ’cause it’s hard to always fight back in the game.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Los Angeles for Wednesday’s matchup against the Clippers. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing nationally on ESPN and 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 American Airlines Center on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. That 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:

Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee effusion) — questionable
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out