Game 68: Mavs at 76ers

Noel Flushes

J.J. Barea finds Nerlens Noel who throws down the dunk.

Mavs make splash with series of moves to acquire Nerlens Noel at trade deadline

DALLAS — Although a day of wheeling and dealing at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline led to plenty of roster movement, the Dallas Mavericks feel like they set themselves up to compete now and for seasons to come by adding a young and athletic big man.

Thursday, the Mavericks (22-34) announced that they had officially waived The Colony native and three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams, clearing up a roster spot and more playing time for the team’s young guards. Dallas also acquired 22-year-old Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers, sending away veteran center Andrew Bogut, second-year pro Justin Anderson and a protected first-round draft pick in exchange. The Mavs now hope to work Noel into the fold quickly, looking to claw their way into playoff contention in the process. And with another contributor to add to their emerging young core now on the roster, the Mavericks believe they picked up a building block for the future.

“It was great having Deron and his family back home in Dallas for the better part of two seasons,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said in a statement after the team waived Williams. “At this time the decision has been made to focus on playing our young guys, and the organization felt that giving Deron the freedom to choose his next team was the right thing to do. Deron still plays at a high level, and I believe he will be a difference-maker for a contending team down the stretch of this season. We wish him and his family the very best.

“In Justin Anderson, Philadelphia has acquired a high-class person and multiple-position player who has made great strides over his first two years. We thank Justin for his hard work and commitment to the Dallas Mavericks’ culture, and wish him the best. Nerlens Noel gives us something we desperately need — a young big who is a high-level rim protector and lob threat and has a high basketball IQ. We look forward to getting him to Dallas and integrated with our team as soon as possible.”

On the season, the 6-foot-11 Noel is averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and .9 blocks a game, clocking 19.4 minutes an outing in a mostly reserve role during his 29 appearances. The former Kentucky standout and No. 6 overall pick of New Orleans during the 2013 draft is also shooting a career-high 61.1 percent from the field, giving the Mavericks an above-the-rim option in the interior.

Noel has averaged 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks for his young career, starting 140 of 171 total games. He’ll now join a Dallas frontline that already features 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, adding depth to the center position after the migration of Bogut. And although Nowitzki admits that he had mixed emotions when he first learned of the trade after losing two teammates, the 7-footer looks forward to integrating an athletic big man that can help the Mavs win immediately.

“Well, he’s an athletic big,” Nowitzki said while praising the acquisition of Noel. “He’s young, and he’s  got a lot of potential. You know, he’s a rim protector, he’s long and he can finish around the rim. I think that’s what they were looking for. You obviously always hate to see teammates go. I love Bogut, and I love Justin. [Anderson] is a hard-working kid with a bright future. But in a deal, that’s just how it works. You have to give something to get something, so I wish those guys the best of luck. They gave everything they had here, and we’ll move forward.

“You know, we’re obviously trying to compete,” Nowitzki added. “No matter who wears this jersey, we’re going to go out there and try to win these games. We don’t play to lose. I think no competitor plays to lose, so whoever is out there and whoever is healthy is going to go out there and battle it out to see where we end up towards the end.”

Note: The Mavericks will now begin play after the All-Star break on Friday night in Minnesota, taking on the Timberwolves. The season series is tied at 1-1. The game will tip off at 7 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.

The Mavs return to their home floor on Saturday, hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The season series is tied at 1-1. The 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:

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Justin Anderson’s defensive play, with an assist from the bench, helps Mavs beat Knicks

In the first half, it was looking like Carmelo Anthony was going to have one of those nights.

The Knicks superstar went into halftime with 22 points already to his name, on 9-of-15 shooting, and the Mavs held a narrow 52-51 lead. Already playing without Wesley Matthews, who suffered a right hip strain on Sunday and was unavailable Wednesday night, Dallas also lost point guard Deron Williams in the first half when he suffered a great toe sprain. That even further shuffled an already jumbled rotation even more.

But there is opportunity in adversity, and Justin Anderson took advantage of the extra minutes that came his way. Anderson helped limit Anthony to just eight points in the second half on 4-of-9 shooting. He also turned it over four times.

“Anderson really stepped up in the second half, really guarded the heck out of Anthony,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. “He really took a quantum leap defensively in the second half.”

As it turns out, the second-year Maverick consulted with Matthews during nearly every timeout, taking whatever counsel the Mavs’ defensive ace would offer his way. Anderson said Matthews’ biggest piece of advice to help him make that “quantum leap” was simply to play tougher.

“The last time we were in New York, I remember guarding (Anthony) and I tried to give him space and he just happened to miss,” Anderson said. “So I thought I’d come into it with the same kind of strategy, kind of give space and give a late contest, but he got it.

“So (Matthews) was telling me to be a little more physical and do my work a step earlier. I was a little step behind to start, when I first came off the bench. He was great for me, just telling me to stay physical and kind of crowd him, and make him take a tough, contested one or put it on the floor, and that’s when I got my help. Wesley was tremendous for me tonight.”

Sometimes even getting into a scorer as talented as Anthony, forcing him out of his comfortable spots and into more difficult situations, still won’t limit the damage. When a player like that is in the zone, there’s not much you can do as a defender. As Dorian Finney-Smith put it earlier this season, sometimes you’ve just got to tip your hat and move on. Both he and Anderson were tasked with defending Anthony tonight, and they did what they could to make things tough, and then they learned to live with the results. (Finney-Smith, too, has said Matthews has been a good mentor.)

“That’s what was tough for me in the first half,” Anderson said. “I think he hit like a tough fadeaway, and I got a contest, and he made it. I let it kind of get to me a little bit, just because I want it so bad. I want to prove to my teammates and our coaches that I can defend really well. That stuff ate at me a little bit.

“But I kind of breathed when I came out, and recollected my thoughts at halftime, and I wanted that challenge. I asked coach to keep me in and let me guard him, and I was thankful that he gave me the opportunity to go out there and continue guarding him for the rest of the game.”

Anderson’s opportunities have not come with the consistency that fans might have expected this season. He closed the 2015-16 campaign strong, and played some of his best basketball in the playoffs against Oklahoma City. But the addition of Harrison Barnes and the surprising play of rookie Dorian Finney-Smith have limited Anderson’s minutes of late. Before Sunday’s win against the Lakers, he’d played fewer than 10 minutes in each of his last seven appearances, receiving two DNP-CDs during that time.

In his last two games, however, Anderson has played nearly 36 minutes combined and is averaging 15.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. He took six free throws against the Lakers and seven more last night against the Knicks, an indication that he’s becoming more aggressive driving to the basket, one of the things Carlisle has urged him to do ever since he arrived to the NBA.

Anyone who has followed the Mavericks during the Carlisle Era will know the coach’s mantra, “stay ready,” is meant to be taken seriously. Despite Anderson’s lack of playing time during that recent stretch of schedule, the 23-year-old knew he had to do what he could not only to remain prepared in the event that he does play, but also to perhaps force his way back into the rotation.

“I’ve been working out really hard before and after games, late nights, and just putting myself in the position to be in shape and ready for whatever moment,” Anderson said. “Whenever I get the opportunity, just go out there and play hard, making the simple plays, just trying to show my coaches and my teammates that they can rely on me when they need me. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”

With Matthews, Williams, J.J. Barea, and Dirk Nowitzki all not traveling to OKC tonight with the Mavericks, Anderson should receive significant minutes. For him, it’s another chance to take advantage of that opportunity.

Game 46: Mavs at Thunder

Highlights: Harrison Barnes scores 31 points

Watch all 31 of Harrison Barnes' points Thursday against the Thunder.

Despite limited playing time this season, Justin Anderson’s patience was rewarded against Lakers

DALLAS — Although most of his playing time came late in a runaway 122-73 win Sunday over the Los Angeles Lakers, second-year pro Justin Anderson was simply happy to contribute for the Dallas Mavericks during a much-needed victory.

Scoring 12 of his career high-tying 19 points in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win, the 6-foot-6 Anderson made the most of his additional playing time after limited action during the first half of his second season. He also led seven different scorers in double figures as the Mavericks (15-29) bounced back from consecutive losses in impressive fashion, earning the praise of his veteran teammates and head coach in the process. And although Anderson’s admits that his performance might not be enough to earn more time on the court going forward, he also says that playing a role in the win was still rewarding after patiently waiting for his opportunity.

“It was good. I’m just thankful for the opportunity, and I just went out there and played as hard as I can,” Anderson said following a 5-of-11 shooting performance during Sunday’s win. “I’m just happy that my teammates helped me and pushed me to go out there and be aggressive, and those guys helped me and put me in good positions.”

He added: “You know, I’m just trying to stay optimistic, man, and just keep trying to understand that this is a part of my growth individually. This is something that one day I’m going to look back and say that this was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, so I’m just humbled. Right now, my head is in the dirt, and I’m just continuing to work hard and trying to do everything I can to help my team when my number is called. It feels good for us all to go out and get this win.”

This isn’t the first time Anderson has been forced to wait for his opportunity to make an impact, seeing little action much of his rookie season before emerging late in the 82-game schedule to help push the Mavs into the playoffs. However, after a strong close to the 2015-16 campaign, Anderson was expected to pick up where he left off at with an even stronger second season.

The 23-year-old Anderson was unable to initially crack Mavs coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation early in his rookie year, making 55 appearances while averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per outing last season. He was then inserted into the starting lineup and quickly provided a spark on March 28 in Denver, scoring 11 points, grabbing four rebounds, dishing two assists, collecting a steal and registering two blocks in 24 minutes of action during a 97-88 victory that led to wins in seven of the final nine games and a playoff berth. Anderson upped his production in the playoffs by averaging 9.4 points, 4.0 boards and 1.4 assists in 18.8 minutes as the Mavericks fell to Oklahoma City in five games during the first round. And although Sunday’s win gave all of the Mavs’ young contributors a chance to show what they can do, starting point guard Deron Williams says he was most excited for Anderson’s impressive showing.

“I know it’s been tough on a lot of them, especially Justin. He was playing a lot early, and lately he’s either not played or played sparingly,” Williams explained. “I know that can be tough on him, but obviously, he’s stayed professional. He keeps working hard, and (Sunday) he got his opportunity and made the most of it.”

On the season, Anderson is averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 rebounds, shooting just 39.8 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three-point range during his 40 appearances. The 21st overall pick in in the 2015 draft has also seen his playing time impacted by the emergence of 26-year-old sharpshooter Seth Curry and undrafted rookie Dorian Finney-Smith. That said, Carlisle confesses that Sunday’s performance may not be enough to earn Anderson more playing time immediately. But after seeing the young pro remain ready for his opportunity, Carlisle says he won’t hesitate to insert Anderson into the lineup when the time calls for it.

“He’s been working extremely hard, so he put himself in a position to succeed (on Sunday),” Carlisle said while assessing Anderson’s latest performance. “And if you’re looking at the stats and the numbers, he scored and made shots, which was great. I thought he went hard and he took a charge, so there’s a lot of positives there.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their three-game homestand Wednesday at American Airlines Center, hosting the New York Knicks. New York leads the season series 1-0 after a 93-77 home win on Nov. 14. The 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:

Wesley Matthews (right hip strain) — day-to-day

Andrew Bogut (right hamstring strain) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Justin Anderson’s all-around play impressed teammates, Rick Carlisle against Pelicans

DALLAS — Although second-year standout Justin Anderson admits that he’s yet to make the impact he hoped to for the Dallas Mavericks this season, the 6-foot-6 swingman’s impressive play during Sunday’s 91-81 victory over New Orleans could be a sign of things to come.

Clocking 23 minutes in a reserve role Sunday against the Southwest Division rival Pelicans, Anderson scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished two assists off the bench. The 23-year-old also connected on 4-of-7 shooting during the game, giving the Mavericks (3-13) a much-needed boost off the bench as they secured the victory without 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain), undersized guard J.J. Barea (left calf strain) and veteran Devin Harris (right great toe sprain). In the process, Anderson earned the praise of Mavs coach Rick Carlisle and his veteran teammates after the game. And according to Carlisle, Anderson provided a blueprint for how best he can help the team this season.

“Anderson, I thought, played his best game in two years,” Carlisle proclaimed after Sunday’s win. “I thought it was by far his best game in two years. Twenty-three minutes, big shots, always in the right place, tough defense, and it’s exactly what we need from him. No more, no less. He put himself in a really strong position to play well, and I’m really happy for him. He’s had his struggles, but he’s figuring some things out.”

Last season, Anderson struggled to crack Carlisle’s rotation before coming on strong to close the schedule and during the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City. He then hoped to build on that strong play to close his rookie campaign, looking to emerge as one of the the Mavs’ top contributors off the bench during the 2016-17 season.

However, while admittedly trying to take on too much responsibility, Anderson has yet to make a consistent impact on a nightly basis this season. But with an all-around performance now under his belt, Anderson says he’ll try to carry his strong play forward to Wednesday’s matchup against the division-leading San Antonio Spurs.

“You know, I looked myself in the mirror and put my hard hat on,” Anderson said after Sunday’s game. “Major shout out to our player development guys … for just allowing me to stay the course and working with me. I’m just humbled to be in this spot right now, and I’m trying to keep the game simple.”

He added: “I felt like I needed to do more internally. Human nature kind of says, ‘Oh, Dirk’s out. J.J. is out. D-Will is out.’ You just want to do whatever you can to help your team, and sometimes that can hurt your team. I wanted to re-evaluate it. I talked to coach [Carlisle] and asked him what he needed from me, and he made it very clear. And I went out and I did that, and that’s what makes him a Hall-of-Fame coach. He knows exactly what to do to get the best out of his guys. This is a big win, but I can’t wait until San Antonio.”

Selected with the 21st overall pick in the first round of the 2015 draft, Anderson appeared in 55 games for the Mavs during the ’15-16 season while averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.8 minutes an outing. He also increased his production during the final seven games of last season, averaging 7.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 blocks during that span. The former Virginia standout then showed signs of stardom during the team’s first-round playoff matchup against the Thunder, upping his scoring average to 9.4 points per outing as the Mavs fell in five games. But while averaging 7.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists so far this season, Anderson has yet to make the difference that he expected to coming into the grueling 82-game schedule. That could all change after Sunday’s showing, according to Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes.

“You know, I definitely thought Justin Anderson was the difference-maker (Sunday night),” Barnes said after the win. “His energy and effort, I think, got us over the hump. And it’s just something to build off.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to American Airlines Center on Wednesday, hosting the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 1-0 after a 96-91 home win on Nov. 21. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. It 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:

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — out

Devin Harris (right great toe sprain) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Watch some crazy Justin Anderson highlights to celebrate his birthday

Justin Anderson turns 23 years old today. Most second-year players might not have a fully stocked highlight reel so early in their careers, but Anderson has already put together some of the most physically insane plays you’ll see on a basketball court.

In honor of his special day, let’s take a look at some of his most exciting plays as a Maverick.

Air Anderson

Justin Anderson cleans up the miss with a put back slam.

One hand is better than two, apparently, even on a put-back dunk…

Play of the Day: Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson comes flying in to clean up the glass with a monster slam.

…unless, of course, it’s the playoffs.

Justin Anderson throws down a vicious dunk

Justin Anderson rises for the jam for the Texas Legends.

He didn’t hold back in the D-League last season, either.

Anderson Gets the Block

Al-Farouq Aminu goes up for the layup and Justin Anderson pins it off the glass.

That’s Mav-on-former-Mav crime, as Anderson straight-up denied Al-Farouq Aminu point-blank at the rim.

Anderson Rejects Ariza

Justin Anderson chases down Trevor Ariza and rejects his layup attempt off the glass.

That block on Trevor Ariza might have been his most significant regular-season rejection of his career, helping to protect a one-point Mavs lead against Houston late in the 2015-16 season.

But the most insane, how-did-he-do-it play he’s made in his career came late last season. I still don’t know how exactly he did this.

He’s also a fun guy to hang around, too. He didn’t shy away from challenging a local radio personality to a game of Madden, and he won it in thrilling fashion.

Madden Challenge: Justin Anderson vs. TC Fleming

Justin "Simba" Anderson takes on 1310 The Ticket's TC Fleming in an epic Madden showdown.

There’s no doubt he loves food, so he had an absolute ball at the State Fair last fall.

Justin Anderson goes to the State Fair of Texas

Mavs rookie Justin Anderson ate his way through the State Fair of Texas.

And he “slid the city” in Oak Cliff during the summer, enjoying a day in the sun with complete strangers, who quickly became Mavs fans if they weren’t already.

Justin Anderson at Slide the City

Mavs wing Justin Anderson took his cameraman talents to Slide the City in Oak Cliff last weekend. Be on the lookout for him and the Mavs at more events this summer!

Let’s all wish a happy birthday to Justin Anderson, and hope that on his 24th we’ll have even more incredible highlights to look back on with awe.