When you think of the Mavs’ defense, blocks might not be the first thing to come to mind. Only Detroit blocked fewer shots than Dallas this season, as the Mavericks instead turned their attention to overloading the paint in an effort to limit opponents’ shots at the rim, encouraging 3-balls instead. The Mavs allowed only 35.0 field goal attempts per game from less than 10 feet this season, per NBA.com, which ties for second-fewest in the NBA. So there weren’t very many opportunities to block shots, anyway.
But the blocks they did have were pretty vicious. Whether it was Justin Anderson, Salah Mejri, or someone else, the Dallas blocks highlight reel is just nasty. We’ve already seen the best Mavs dunks of the season, but today is all about swats. Check out the video below and let us know if we missed any of your favorite blocks.
Top 10 Mavs Blocks of 2015-16
Check out the Mavs' biggest blocks of the 2015-16 season.
10. Anderson introduces himself
This was one of the first of many significant highlight plays Justin Anderson would make in his rookie season. Late in a Feb. 3 game against Miami, Heat rookie Justise Winslow came away with the ball and went up for a reverse layup. Anderson was having none of that. Consider it justice served after the two players had a bit of an altercation last season in a Virginia-Duke showdown almost exactly one year earlier, when Winslow received a flagrant foul for grabbing Anderson’s leg and very nearly unleashing the beast. The best part of Anderson’s block (and ensuing roar) against the Heat was he compounded that good play into two of them, draining a corner three at the other end and sending the AAC crowd into a frenzy. That was when the rookie won this city over.
9. The rookie does it again
In a play very similar to his rejection of Winslow, Anderson did virtually the same thing to center Gorgui Dieng two months later, on April 3 in Minnesota. Dieng has a significant height and wingspan advantage over the 6-foot-6 Anderson, but the Mavs rookie has more hangtime than a 60-yard punt. If he has time to gather himself and jump as high as he can, he’ll be waiting for you at the rim, and in this instance he swatted it with authority.
8. Felton blocks the KAT
Poor Karl-Anthony Towns. The unanimous Rookie of the Year and star-in-the-making also found himself on the wrong end of the season’s dunk highlights list, but that obviously isn’t any indictment of him as a player. In this case, though, Raymond Felton got the better of him, as the 6-foot-1 combo guard swiped the ball right out of the center’s hands as he went up for what looked like an easy dunk. But not much comes easy when Felton is protecting the rim: He blocked 15 shots this season, the most of any of the Mavs’ four small guards.
7. Mejri chases down Roberson
Salah Mejri proved time and time again this season that he doesn’t give up on a play, no matter how far away from the ball he is. In this case, after a Mavs turnover, the 7-foot-2 center sprinted to the other end of the floor to chase down OKC’s Andre Roberson and erase his dunk attempt from this universe. He then held court for a quick second with his home fans before running to the offensive end. Mejri might lead the team in swag exhibited per 100 possessions, and that’s OK. Dallas could use more players like him.
6. Mejri adds a name to the list
We all know about Mejri’s infamous list, and he added another name to it with this impressive chase-down block of Houston’s superstar James Harden. Mejri begins the play off-screen; you can’t see him because he sprinted literally the entire length of the floor on this play to reject Harden. This Jan. 24 play came at an important time for Mejri, who hadn’t even truly cracked the Mavs’ rotation at this point. He’d scored his first career points less than two weeks earlier, but it wouldn’t take another two weeks for him to prove to everyone why he deserved more minutes.
5. Dirk doin’ work
Dirk Nowitzki has scored more than 29,000 points and has made a billion All-Star and All-NBA teams. You know that. But what you probably didn’t know is the German led his team in total blocks this season for the first time since 2009-10, and for the fifth time in his career. This one, bar none, was his best. It came in the second half of the Mavs’ playoff-clinching win in Utah on April 11. After sending Jeff Withey’s layup attempt into the next dimension, Nowitzki capped off the highlight by staring down his own bench as all of his teammates leaped to their feet in a combination of excitement and perhaps even a bit of disbelief. What a play.
4. Evans sends Davis’s shot soaring
Jeremy Evans’s season was unfortunately cut short due to injury, but early in the campaign he made an incredible block on the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis. Credit to Wesley Matthews as well on this play for racing to the other end of the floor and slowing Davis’s progress. But, I mean, what else can you say about Evans’s block? It was masterful, a combination of completely rude and absolutely wonderful. The forward’s vertical leap has been measured at 43.5 inches in the past. He makes plays like this one look routine.
3. Anderson chases down Ariza
With the Mavericks clinging to a one-point lead with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter against the Rockets, Harden advanced the ball downcourt to Trevor Ariza, streaking for a layup. A loss would have put the Mavs in a difficult position as they battled for a playoff spot, while a win would have put Houston in great shape. Everyone knew what was at stake. That included Justin Anderson. The wing flew through the air to slap Ariza’s layup off the backboard and launch a Mavs break the other way, and Dallas would go on to win the game. That was perhaps the rookie’s biggest play of the season, and it’s one of many he’ll make as a Maverick.
2. Mejri blows the roof off the AAC
If his chase-down block of Harden was enough to earn Salah Mejri minutes moving forward, his performance against OKC on Jan. 22 earned him the right to chase down Harden. The Mavs were down 15 points in the fourth quarter when Rick Carlisle inserted Mejri into the game and, in just eight minutes, the Mavs found themselves in position to shoot for the tie at the buzzer. Mejri had a lot to do with that, rejecting both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the latter of which was one of the best blocks by any Maverick this season. The Tunisian met the superstar at the rim and won.
1. Anderson breaks the game
This is just an incredible athletic play, and it’s the best block of the season.