Final: Mavs 114, Grizzlies 80
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs led 31-13 after the first quarter. Their 18-point lead was the club’s largest advantage after the opening frame since Nov. 13, 2014, when Dallas led by 28 against Philly. The 13 points the Mavs allowed were the fewest they allowed in the first quarter since Feb. 11, 2015, when they gave up just nine points against Utah.
Dallas held a 56-30 lead at halftime. It was their largest halftime lead of the season, and the fewest points the Mavs allowed in the opening half since that same Nov. 13, 2014 game against the 76ers.
Harrison Barnes took 11 free throws in the first half alone. Though he didn’t attempt any in the second, it still represented his second-highest total for a game as a Maverick, and third-highest in his career.
The 33-year-old point guard is having the best season of his career in many ways, averaging his most points and assists per game ever, with his fifth-highest field goal percentage and fourth-best 3-point percentage. He continues to carry the second unit with his playmaking, and his ability to see the floor and read defenses has helped Dwight Powell, Yogi Ferrell, and others develop any time they play with him. He’s a magician, able to continuously find cracks in the defense despite not having the size or top-end speed as virtually anyone he faces on any given night.
That’s a huge improvement in three areas over the jumper we saw last season. (See below.)
First, it’s a quicker shot, which makes it tougher for a defender to contest. Second, there’s no hitch toward the top of the jumper. Whereas last season he brought the ball behind his head, this season it’s a smooth rise-and-release motion. Finally, he now shoots the ball toward the apex of his jump as opposed to on the way down, as was the case last season. Finney-Smith hit 1 of 3 3-pointers in his first game back. Obviously as time goes on he’s going to get many, many more reps both in games and during practice. That’s going to be an extremely important part of his offensive game moving forward, so it’s good to see
The Mavs (21-45) will play the Houston Rockets (51-14) on Sunday at American Airlines Center at 6 p.m. Central.