The Fast Break: Mavs at Warriors

Final: Warriors 121, Mavs 103

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

Dennis Smith Jr. scored 22 points tonight, securing his 19th consecutive game scoring in double-figures. It was also his 10th game this season with at least 20 points, which moves him past Jim Jackson and Jason Kidd and into sixth place all-time for most games with 20+ points by a Mavs rookie.

Dirk Nowitzki notched his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also recorded five steals, which ties for the third-most in a game in his career. It’s the most he’s swiped since stealing nine in a game against the Rockets on March 7, 2004, per Basketball-Reference.

Notebook

  • Dennis Smith Jr. is fearless. Sometimes that means he’ll try something ambitious.

    Sometimes it’s too ambitious. But hey, we know by now that Smith is extremely confident in his own abilities. Once his experience and hoops savvy catch up to his extraordinary athleticism, he’s got the chance to be a ridiculously good (and equally entertaining) player. Keep dunking.

  • Dirk Nowitzki is 39 years old, but he’s still out here making youngsters look silly.

    https://twitter.com/dallasmavs/status/961828773522849798

    That’s no schmuck that he’s faking out twice. That’s Draymond Green, who might be the best defender in the NBA. Dirk forever.

  • With Harrison Barnes out tonight, J.J. Barea got the start. The veteran still managed to have the second-best plus-minus on the team (behind only Nowitzki) despite playing with the starting group and spending less time with the bench unit than normal. Yogi Ferrell and the newly signed Kyle Collinsworth were the only guards available off the bench in the wake of the club trading Devin Harris to Denver. As long as Barnes is ready to go on Saturday, Barea will likely return to his role off the bench in relief of Smith. Tonight he was pulling strings with the starters, though, handing out a team-high eight assists in 28 minutes.

  • Forward Doug McDermott came to Dallas in exchange for Harris. The small forward is a terrific spot-up 3-point shooter and is improving in other areas offensively, including making plays off the dribble. McDermott dominated the Iowa high school basketball scene with his new teammate Harrison Barnes; the pair of wings won back-to-back state titles at Ames High School before parting ways in college. Now they’re reunited in the big leagues after all these years. (Somewhere out there, there’s got to be a crazy highlight reel of those two dominating. Maybe it’ll pop up one day. For now, though, we have this picture.)


    What’s Next

    The Mavs (17-38) will play the Los Angeles Lakers (22-31) on Saturday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Warriors

    Final: Warriors 125, Mavs 122

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs had a strong second quarter on this floor earlier this season against the Warriors, and they followed it up with another good one tonight. Dallas scored 35 points in the second frame, shooting 60.0 percent from the field and getting to the free throw line eight times. That cut a nine-point deficit after the opening frame to just six at halftime.

    Very loosely related to this game: After a long voting period in China, the Mavs revealed their new Chinese nickname to 独行侠 (DúXíngXiá), which translates roughly in English to “Lone Ranger Heroes.” You can read more about that process and the reasons behind it here.

    Notebook

  • What a terrific game. Dallas tied it twice in the final minute but the Warriors answered both times, first via a Klay Thompson layup with 24.2 seconds left and then by a Steph Curry 3-pointer with 3.0 seconds left to give Golden State a 125-122 lead which would prove to be the final score. That was about as good as regular-season basketball will get. Ties, lead changes, insane shotmaking by both teams. You obviously want to see the result go the other way, but tonight the Mavericks proved that they can hang with the best team in the league.

  • This was an interesting game to watch Dennis Smith Jr. His jumper had been money in the previous three games, but tonight it produced mixed results. The problem there is Golden State was giving him room to shoot in exchange for building a wall to keep him out of the paint. In a few years, Smith will likely have developed a pretty nice pull-up shot that could eventually render that strategy obsolete, but in the meantime he’s got to iron out that J and then take the driving opportunities when they come. Oftentimes, that will mean pushing the ball early in the clock and trying to isolate against bigger players. He did that twice here.

    And once he gets it going downhill, he’s able to develop a rhythm to hit those jumpers.

    He’s got a lot of games yet to play in his rookie season, and even more of them in the future. In time, and with work, he could discover counters to any and every defensive coverage. In the meantime, he’s got to continue what he’s doing best: attack.

  • Dwight Powell tied his career-high with 21 points tonight, and more promisingly he knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and a mid-range jumper. Powell was terrific off the bench and flashed a little bit of everything — the rolling, the long jumper, and the in-between game. He’s quietly (and quickly) become one of the team’s most consistently productive players off the bench.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (13-26) will play the Chicago Bulls (13-24) on Friday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • The Fast Break: Mavs at Warriors

    Final: Warriors 112, Mavs 97

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs got off to a great start in the first quarter, scoring 1.273 points per possession and shooting 60 percent from the field. The bigger key to their success though was avoiding turnovers, committing only two in the opening frame. The Warriors scored 20 fast break points, with most coming in the second half as the Golden State defense began forcing more giveaways. Every possession is precious and especially against a team as dangerous as the Warriors, you’ve got to avoid turning it over as much as possible.

    Johnathan Motley made his NBA debut in this one, scoring his first NBA point on a free throw and later adding a left-handed baby hook for his first field goal. He finished with four points on the night.

    Notebook

  • Dirk Nowitzki had one of his better shooting nights of the season tonight, scoring 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting and adding eight rebounds. He also attempted a season-high five free throws. The Warriors are a switch-everything team almost regardless of personnel, which can lead to some zany mismatches in the post. He was able to back down guards on a couple occasions which created some fadeaway and foul opportunities, and his 3-point shot was going strong as well, at a 2-for-3 clip. He’s shooting 50.0 percent from beyond the arc in his last 11 games on a hair over four attempts per night.

  • Maxi Kleber has shown some major defensive versatility lately. He guarded Karl-Anthony Towns on the last road trip, LaMarcus Aldridge two nights ago, and then Kevin Durant tonight. Checking KD isn’t an easy task for a wing, let alone a big man like Kleber who’s more used to defending centers. But the German rookie has good, quick feet which allow him to keep up with smaller, faster players. Durant obviously had a huge game so it’s hard to argue that anyone shut him down, but of all the guys who defended him, Kleber might have made it the toughest. That’s not something I would have predicted coming into the game. Credit to the experienced rook for embracing one of the toughest assignments in basketball and performing well.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (8-21) will play the San Antonio Spurs (19-9) on Saturday at the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Grizzlies

    Final: Mavs 103, Grizzlies 94

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavericks scored 32 points in the first quarter thanks in large part to taking 15 free throws. It was the team’s highest-scoring opening frame of the season, and the most since Dallas dropped 32 in the first against Brooklyn on March 19, 2017.

    Dallas has now attempted at least 21 free throws in all five games this season. The Mavs didn’t have a streak longer than two such games all of 2016-17. The club has clearly made a point of attacking the basket early and often, most notably Harrison Barnes, who now has three games of at least nine free throw attempts this season after doing so in just four contests all of last season.

    Coming into this game, Dennis Smith Jr. was the only teenager in Mavs history to score even five points in a game. He could very well rewrite the franchise’s age-based record book this season.

    Notebook

  • It’s good to see the Mavs get a win, and it’s even better to get one against a team playing as well as Memphis. The Grizzlies have wins this season against both Golden State and Houston, so they’re for real so far. Dallas played a really smart game on both ends of the floor, finding a way to get good shots while still playing within the offense, and forcing plenty of turnovers on defense. This is the kind of game the Mavs will need to play the rest of the year to get to where they want to be.

  • If there’s one guy we’re going to pay extra-close attention to this season, it’s going to be Dennis Smith Jr. The rookie point guard had a pretty quiet first half tonight, but he scored nine points in the third quarter alone to turn around his evening and ended up with a career-high 19 points. It began with a 3-pointer and a pull-up jumper from the free throw line, and continued with consecutive drives to the basket against switched big men. He showed a little bit of everything in the third, including making a nice lob pass to a rolling Dwight Powell for an alley-oop. There’s going to be a lot of good times for him this season, probably mixed in with some awkward ones, but to borrow a line from Mark Ruffalo in “Begin Again,” you’ve got to enjoy the pearls. That third quarter was a pearl.

  • After a couple rough shooting nights to begin the season, Wesley Matthews had another solid game in this one. He scored 10 points in the first quarter to help jump-start the offense following a 19-point outing against Golden State on Monday. He’s now up above 39 percent from beyond the arc this season after a 5-of-16 start. The Mavs will undoubtedly need Matthews to continue hitting 3s at a high clip, especially since they’ve been without Seth Curry all season.

  • In other Dennis Smith Jr. news…

    His athleticism is obviously really impressive, but what’s most jaw-dropping about that play is how easy he made it look. That’s a point guard driving past his defender in one step and dunking with two hands. It’s crazy how casual he is about plays like that.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (1-4) will play the Memphis Grizzlies (3-1) on Thursday at the FedEx Forum at 7 p.m. Central.

  • The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Warriors

    Final: Warriors 133, Mavs 103

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs scored 62 points in the first half tonight. They did so only 10 times in 2016-17 and eight times the season before, so to do so in their fourth game this season (and second with Dennis Smith Jr.) should be taken as a good sign. Of course, offense constitutes only one half of the game, so the Mavericks still have plenty to work on. It’s still early in the year, though.

    The Mavericks shot 30 free throws in this game, a mark they topped only three times last season. To the Mavs’ credit, they haven’t taken fewer than 21 in a game this season after only taking 21+ in 26 games last year. Harrison Barnes has made a point this season to get to the rim and he was able to do that again tonight, although that didn’t manifest itself in the form of attempts. Smith, however, took 10 attempts to lead the way for Dallas.

    The Mavericks grabbed 14 offensive rebounds tonight, a mark they reached only three times last season. Barnes and Nerlens Noel each pulled down three while Dirk and Smith pulled down a pair each. While suffering through a shooting slump in the first half, the Mavs started crashing the glass to keep plays alive and earn a second chance, which helped to kick-start their comeback effort.

    Notebook

  • Dennis Smith Jr. was back in the lineup tonight after missing the previous two games with left knee effusion, or swelling in the left knee. Smith didn’t appear to be hindered, as he nearly threw down a pretty serious dunk on Draymond Green at one point but was fouled mid-flight. Smith said he went for an MRI last week and all turned out well, so that was certainly good news to hear. The 19-year-old was active on the glass with six rebounds, including chasing down one offensive board all the way onto the Mavs’ bench. He finished with 10 points, but a 4-of-10 night from the free throw line left a few more points on the floor. This season is going to be a learning process for him, and having to guard Steph Curry is a pretty serious challenge for a teenager. He’ll continue to watch film and improve on that end and also as it relates to running the offense.

  • Two of the Smith-Yogi Ferrell-J.J. Barea point guard trio were on the floor for the entire game for as long as it was competitive. Not surprisingly, the ball seemed to move much better tonight than it did in the previous two games when injuries kept Smith out. Rick Carlisle said after the game that he wants to see the ball move even more, which will become easier once Smith becomes more comfortable and Seth Curry and Devin Harris return to action. Dallas was able to survive on the defensive glass while playing smaller lineups, and that’s going to be the biggest “must” for the Mavs moving forward for as long as they play the multi-guard lineups.

  • After falling behind by 18 points in the second quarter, the Mavs pulled to within three points by halftime by launching a lengthy run against the Warriors’ second unit. Wesley Matthews led the way, scoring 14 first-half points on just five shots. Dallas did it with hustle plays and by getting to the free throw line. Perhaps that could be the formula to a win in the home-and-home with Memphis later this week.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (0-4) will play the Memphis Grizzlies (3-0) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game notes: Mavs at Warriors

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    Here are some notes and observations ahead of the Mavs/Warriors showdown tonight in Oakland. Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m. Central.

    – Whenever you play the Warriors, the first thing you need to think about is who’s going to guard all-world point guard Steph Curry. But when you’re going up against a really good player, you can’t just have one plan. You need to have multiple plans for all the different scenarios you’ll face. For example, when defending Curry one-on-one, Wesley Matthews might be the best option for the Mavericks tonight. Or maybe the club rolls with its point guards, J.J. Barea and Seth Curry (in a battle of the brothers), and lets Matthews check Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, against whom he did a very good job in last season’s playoffs.

    But the Warriors burn opponents by setting ball-screens on Curry’s man and forcing the defense to make a choice: to switch or not to switch. Fortunately, the Mavericks are well-equipped in this game to switch on every Curry screen set by a non-center. Between Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Justin Anderson, and Dorian Finney-Smith, the Mavs have a stable of wings who are long enough to contest Curry’s jumpers and athletic enough to stick with him if he attacks the paint. The best realistic strategy the Mavs could use tonight might be to switch everything. That’s what OKC did in the Western Conference Finals last season and it worked very well for the Thunder.

    The problem you face at that point, then, is it means switching Curry’s defender on to the screener, which in many cases is Draymond Green or Kevin Durant. You don’t want Barea, for example, to defend the 6-foot-11 Durant in the post, which means in that case you might have to send double-teams, which invites ball movement and can lead to open 3s. That’s why putting Matthews on Curry might make the most sense, so you don’t get burned on those switches if Durant is setting the screens. No matter what you do, really, it’s tough to defend the Warriors. Not many teams have done it successfully, and only so many teams even have the personnel to potentially do it. The Mavs, however, could be one of those teams.

    – The Dallas defense has done a tremendous job of keeping opponents out of the restricted area this season. The Mavs are allowing an NBA-low 23.1 attempts in the RA per game this season, which makes their 65.4 field goal percentage against, the 27th mark in the league, much more palatable. Dallas has done it by overloading the paint with defenders and swarming dribble penetrators, and forcing kick-out passes and closing out like crazy to run the opponent off the line and hopefully force a mid-range J. It’s a bold strategy, but it’s worked very well for Dallas, the eighth-ranked defense in the NBA in terms of defensive efficiency.

    The Warriors allow a slightly lower percentage in the restricted area — 63.6 percent — but allow nearly five more attempts from that area per game. If Dallas can contain Golden State penetration while also generating rim attacks of its own, the Mavs have a chance in this one. Draymond Green is a terrific defender, but the Warriors are still searching for help on the interior to make up for the loss of Andrew Bogut, who’s a big reason why Dallas has done so well defending attempts this season. Of course, if you keep the Warriors out of the lane it means they’re shooting more 3s, but a defense simply can’t afford to let the Dubs run wild both in and outside of the paint. If you can stop a great offense in one of those areas, you have a chance to win the game.

    Highlights: Mavs vs. Lakers

    Harrison Barnes had his third 30-point game of the season and Seth Curry added a career-high 23 as the Mavs defeat the Lakers, 109-97.

    – The Warriors sport a 5-2 record, which isn’t quite 73-win pace but it’s still very good, and Steph Curry just hit 13 3s the other night, so whatever early-season woes the Dubs suffered from in the last couple weeks might soon cease to exist. Still, Golden State does have some eye-opening win/loss splits, particularly on 3s. In wins, the Warriors shoot 38.5 percent from deep on 29.6 attempts; in losses, only 18.5 percent on 32.5 attempts. That gap has widened from last season, when the Warriors shot 42.6 percent in 73 wins and 32.7 in nine losses.

    Sometimes there’s not much you can do when it comes to defending the 3-point arc, especially against a team that moves the ball as well as the Warriors while also employing some of the best range shooters in the history of the game. But Dallas can control its rotations and the breathing room it gives to Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and everyone else. If you make their looks tough — or run them off the line in general — you’ll have a good chance. For reference, the Warriors shot 7 of 19 from deep in their loss to the Mavs last season, although Steph Curry was inactive that night. In the other three games, all Golden State wins, the Warriors shot 48.3, 57.9, and 46.7 percent from deep.

    – This is the Mavs’ first back-to-back of the season, and it’s hard to imagine a much tougher place to have to play for the second consecutive night. There are many reasons why playing games two straight days is tough, but the most obvious reason is simple: fatigue. The good news for Dallas, at least for tonight, is the Mavs have a pretty young roster. J.J. Barea and Andrew Bogut were the only two active players on the roster who came into the league before 2009. And while those two players are very important — they both start — it does create some hope that the rest of the players will have just as much energy tonight as they did last night in Los Angeles. They will certainly need that against the Warriors.

    Last season the Mavericks rested a ton of players on back-to-backs, most commonly Dirk Nowitzki, but Deron Williams and Chandler Parsons both missed plenty of games in those situations, too. But I would expect Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews to play tonight. I would expect the entire bench to be available. I would expect Andrew Bogut to play, as this is a pretty important game for him emotionally. Barea will be active by necessity, but he performed very well on second nights of back-to-backs last season, averaging 11.5 points on 44.4/42.0 splits. This is one example of the benefits of youth. Outside of the injured players, Dallas should not have many — or, hopefully, any — availability concerns tonight.

    – I will continue to drive home the importance of pace all season long. In Tuesday’s win against the Lakers, the Mavs absolutely controlled the tempo, turning the game into a halfcourt affair with a pace of only 92.38 possessions per 48 minutes. The Lakers had previously been the league’s “fastest” team, averaging more than 105 possessions per 48, but Dallas did a terrific job of minimizing turnovers and playing a patient, attacking style on offense against an inexperienced team with serious defensive issues. Golden State is obviously an entirely different beast than Los Angeles, but the Warriors do have similar problems on the defensive end, both on the perimeter and in the interior, so milking the clock would generate better looks for the Mavericks. The Warriors, by the way, are now the league’s “fastest” pace team, and are probably the most fearsome team in transition perhaps in NBA history. Keep the pace down, keep turnovers down, keep the clock running, and see what happens.

    Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m. Central.

    Mavericks acquire center Andrew Bogut from Warriors

    DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired center Andrew Bogut along with a future second-round pick from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for a future conditional second-round pick.

    Bogut (7-0, 260) is an 11-year veteran with career averages of 10.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 29.4 minutes per game in 644 games (630 starts) with Milwaukee and Golden State. He earned All-NBA Third Team honors with the Bucks in 2009-10 and was named NBA All-Defensive Second Team with the Warriors in 2014-15. He was also a member of the Warriors’ 2015 NBA championship team.

    A native of Melbourne, Australia, Bogut was selected by Milwaukee with the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He became the first Australian ever taken with the top pick. Bogut appeared in all 82 games for the Bucks in 2005-06, earning NBA All-Rookie First Team honors after finishing the season with averages of 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He averaged a double-double in three consecutive seasons with Milwaukee from 2008-11. In 2009-10, Bogut averaged a career-high 15.9 points to go along with 10.2 rebounds per game en route to being named All-NBA Third Team.

    Bogut was traded along with Stephen Jackson to the Warriors in exchange for Monta Ellis, Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh on March 13, 2012. He made his debut with the team the following season (2012-13), and the Warriors went on to reach the postseason in each of the next four years (2013-16). After winning a title with Golden State in 2014-15, Bogut helped the Warriors win an NBA-record 73 games in 2015-16 and reach the Finals for the second straight year. Bogut suffered a left knee injury in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals and was forced to miss the remainder of the series.

    Bogut played collegiately at Utah, where he was named the Naismith College Player of the Year and won the John R. Wooden Award as a sophomore in 2004-05. The 7-footer declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season.

    Bogut has also represented the Australian National Team in international competition, including the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.