But so far wins – any win — have escaped the Mavs during their trip to the desert, where temperatures reached 112 degrees earlier this week.
The Mavs haven’t been nearly as hot as the weather in Las Vegas, as they’ve posted an 0-4 record since leaving North Texas on July 7 and joining the other 29 NBA teams in their annual summer league bash. The Mavs’ final stab at grabbing a victory will come Saturday at 9 p.m. CT when they take on the Las Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center.
So, what intangibles has to occur in order for the Mavs to avoid going home winless? George Galanopoulos, who served as the Mavs’ summer league head coach during Thursday’s 100-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, said:
“You follow the process of getting better. I know that sounds kind of cliché, but at the end of the day it’s not some big speeches that’s going to get us going.
“It’s not any sort of crazy adjustment that you can make.”
Wright certainly brought the physicality against the Bucks when he finished with game highs in points (26) and rebounds (11). He also was a sparkling 10-of-16 from the field, including hammering home a whopping seven dunks.
Early in the second quarter, the Mavs built a 34-21 lead against Milwaukee. But the game was tied 42-42 at halftime, and the Bucks took charge in the third quarter, although the Mavs did close to within five points late in the game.
“I feel like we started the game off strong, the end of the second quarter we kind of let up, and the start of the (second) half wasn’t the greatest,” Wright said. “But then we picked it up and cut the lead (to five), so I’m proud of everybody.
“I feel like we played hard, but I feel like everybody’s got another notch that we can all turn up so we can get this win and don’t come out of here without (a win), because nobody wants to come to Vegas and lose every single game.”
That’s one proposition the Mavs hope to avoid. Thus, the game against the Lakers becomes somewhat personal.
“At the end of the day you just watch the film, you help players individually and collectively get better at the things they need to get better at, and you try to maintain a good positive environment,” Galanopoulos said. “And positive meaning we’re moving on.
UPDATE ON HARDY: Rookie guard Jaden Hardy have had his shooting struggles since opening summer league play with a 28-point outing against the Chicago Bulls. But there’s one thing summer league head coach George Galanopoulos knows about Hardy.
“He can definitely score the basketball — that’s for certain,” he said. “His defense is something that we’re trying to focus on, and he’s very receptive to our concepts.
“In the NBA game there’s a lot to learn. I think his experience in the G League already with the Ignite is expediting that learning process a little bit.”
Hardy went directly from high school in Henderson, Nev. – a suburb of Las Vegas – to play last season in the NBA’s G League for the Ignite, where he averaged 17.7 points. When the Mavs saw Hardy falling from being a projected first-round pick in last month’s NBA Draft, they traded their way back into the draft so they could secure Hardy’s draft rights – the 37th overall pick – in a trade with the Sacramento Kings.
Hardy’s upside is very intriguing to the Mavs.
“He’s extremely coachable and really fun to be around,” Galanopoulos said. “He’s got a nice energy about him and he’s a good teammate.
“People like that are not a dime a dozen necessarily. I’m very impressed with him as a young man.”
BRIEFLY: Mavs coach Jason Kidd wanted to divvy up the head coaching duties during summer league. Thus, Jared Dudley will coach Saturday’s game against the Lakers. Dudley also coached Tuesday’s 105-78 loss to the Phoenix Suns, although the Mavs’ best player (Moses Wright) did not play in that game. Greg St. Jean coached the 100-99 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on July 8. Meanwhile, George Galanopoulos coached Monday’s 83-82 loss to the Utah Jazz and Thursday’s 100-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. . .There’s one thing Galanopoulos noticed about the Mavs’ summer league roster. “These guys are all talented, and they can score,” he said. “They can do all these different things. I’m extremely proud of them. I’ve got to do a better job of putting them in positions to succeed whenever (the opponent is) making a run. Yeah, I’m really proud of this group. I’ve got nothing but good things to say.”. .That 26-point, 11-rebound showing Moses Wright put up against the Bucks came as no surprise to Galanopoulos, who doubles as the head coach of the Texas Legends – the Mavs’ G League affiliate. When the Mavs signed Wright to a two-way contract on Feb. 24 after he was playing in the G League for the Aqua Caliente Clippers, he played so well for the Legends that he was named All-NBA G League first team. “Once we converted him into a two-way (contract) from Aqua Caliente, he was with us for the last month (of the G League season) and that’s when we went on our run to make the playoffs,” Galanopoulos said. “He was the starting center on a playoff team. So he impacts winning at a high level.”