The Fast Break: Mavs at Pelicans

Final: Mavs 128, Pelicans 120

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

This was the 1,400th start of Dirk Nowitzki’s career. Per Basketball-Reference, he’s third all-time in games started behind only Kevin Garnett (1,425) and Karl Malone (1,471).

The Mavericks scored 36 points in the first quarter, tied for their second-highest scoring opening quarter of the season. Dallas led by 15 points after one, which also was the club’s second-biggest advantage after the first frame of the season.

Dallas reached the 100-point plateau in the third quarter for just the ninth time in the Rick Carlisle Era, which dates back to the beginning of the 2008-09 season.

The Mavs sank a franchise-record 22 3-pointers in this one.

Notebook

  • At 20 years and 34 days old, Dennis Smith Jr. became the youngest Maverick and third-youngest NBA player ever to record a triple-double, amassing 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. The two players younger (both by a matter of weeks) were Lonzo Ball and LeBron James. The previous youngest Maverick to record a triple-double was Jason Kidd at 22 years, 13 days old. He was sensational in this game.

  • Dennis Smith Jr. had a terrific first quarter a couple games ago against Toronto, and he pieced together another productive one tonight. Like that Dec. 26 tilt, Smith was once again the driving force of a quick start for the Mavs’ offense, sparking several fast breaks that led to easy buckets like this one.

    He handed out four assists total in the quarter and also recorded five rebounds.

    Most impressively, his 3-point shot was falling. Once he found a groove and established a rhythm, you could see the confidence oozing out of him. This was particularly nice.

    When you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. That isn’t a shot you want to see Smith taking 10 times a night by any means, but he was on fire and felt good, and he made it. Smith hit a career-high-tying five treys in this one, so he deserved the freedom to let ’em fly. This is another one of those games that really gets you excited about his future in this league.

  • About that first half… The Mavs scored 77 points, tied for their highest-scoring first half in a regular-season game since Dec. 2, 2009. During that opening blitzkrieg, Dallas shot 69.0 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the 3-point line, knocking down 13 treys. Dennis Smith Jr. led the way with 13 points and eight assists in the first two quarters alone — but the club might have scored even more had he not turned it over six times. Such is life for a first-year pro. Anyway, in those first two quarters both Wesley Matthews and Devin Harris each knocked down four 3-pointers. Bench players combined to shoot 12 of 16 from the field. Dallas recorded 17 assists. At one point, the Mavericks combined to hit 11 straight shots from the field. It was just the sixth time in franchise history the team scored at least 77 points in the first half. It was an astonishing display of offense, and it came against a Pelicans team that had won three straight and was playing good basketball as of late. It’s difficult to capture that much magic for an entire half, but the Mavericks did it. And, my, was it fun to watch.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (12-25) will play the Oklahoma City Thunder (20-15) on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena at 6 p.m. Central.

  • Game 37: Mavs at Pelicans

    GAME RECAP: Mavericks 128, Pelicans 120

    Dennis Smith Jr. notches a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Mavericks get the win over the Pelicans, 128-120.

    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Pelicans

    Final: Pelicans 99, Mavs 94

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    Devin Harris continues to be a plus-minus hero for the Mavericks. He was +14 tonight, for example, and is the team’s leader on the season, now at a cumulative +48. No other rotation player is better than +7. Good things always happen when he plays because he’s a versatile guard, able to play both on and off the ball, who can defend and push the ball in transition. He fits in wherever the team needs him. Even at age 34, he still routinely makes a positive impact.

    Notebook

  • Rick Carlisle stressed before and after the game that the Mavericks need to focus on the positives as much as the negatives throughout this difficult start to the season. The negatives are apparent at this point, so let’s talk about the positives. Harrison Barnes attacked the rim a lot to help snap him out of a funk — more on that below. Second, Dennis Smith Jr. appears to be getting more accustomed to finding his spots to shoot. Unfortunately he missed a few open jumpers tonight, but generally he’s taking fewer bad shots on a nightly basis. He’s faced a tough lineup of shot-blockers this week, so he’s having to learn how to work around those big men and still find good looks. This is all part of the process for a 19-year-old rookie. Finally, Dallas continues to play extremely efficient basketball off of misses and turnovers. If the Mavericks can string more stops together, they can launch more runs like they did in the first and fourth quarters in this game. Offense begins with defense.

  • Barnes had a terrific individual scoring game, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting and took 10 free throws. Barnes attacked the rim over and over in this one, giving himself plenty of good looks at the bucket, especially when the Pelicans would switch a small guard on to him. Too often this season Barnes has settled for a mid-range jumper when he could have instead taken another dribble toward the basket. It was good to see him force the issue tonight, and hopefully he can continue to do that moving forward to create easy scoring opportunities for him and his teammates.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (1-9) will play the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-3) on Saturday at the Target Center at 7 p.m. Central.

  • Game 10: Mavs vs. Pelicans

    Barnes Drops 26

    Harrison Barnes scores 26 points with with six rebounds and three assists.

    The Fast Break: Mavs at Bucks

    Final: Mavs 109, Bucks 105

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs shot 60.0 percent in the first quarter, scoring 1.476 points per possession in the frame. For reference, Dallas hit four more shots in the first quarter alone than the club did in the first half on Friday. The Mavs have stressed the importance of starts lately, and they delivered on their goal today.

    The Mavericks have now won nine straight games on Sunday this season. One of the season’s strangest stats.

    Harrison Barnes became just the fifth Maverick ever to score at least 30 points on 13 shots or fewer. Dirk Nowitzki was the last to do it, in 2014.

    Notebook

  • Harrison Barnes was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, most promisingly attempting 10 free throws in the final frame alone. He’s been working to get to the line more often all season, but his work hasn’t always paid off in some games. Tonight, though, it did. One play in particular stood out. Barnes caught a pass open at the top of the arc but, instead of taking the 3, drove the basket, drew contact, and went to the line for two shots. If Barnes can continue to get to the line more often, even if it’s only six times in a game, his efficiency and effectiveness will only increase. Tonight he scored 31 points on 13 shots.

  • J.J. Barea did that thing again where he has an awesome second half. The backup point guard scored seven points in the first half, which is good, but he played out of his mind particularly in the fourth quarter, leading a Mavs run to put them up 89-82, with him doing virtually all the scoring and assisting during that stretch, including back-to-back connections with Nerlens Noel for lob dunks. He’s been playing excellent basketball all season, and that continued tonight.

  • Nico Brussino got some significant playing time tonight, and he played well. The rookie scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds in 14 minutes. He always seems to make the right play, and more importantly he always plays within himself and within the system. He never seems overwhelmed by the moment, which speaks volumes of him as a young player, especially because he can’t necessarily communicate with his coaches and teammates very well due to the language barrier.

  • Dirk Nowitzki had a strong bounce-back performance after his off shooting night Friday in Memphis, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The German was hot early, hitting a couple 3s in the first to help Dallas open up a lead in the opening frame. But he would leave the game for good in the third quarter and was ruled out with a sore right Achilles, per Mavs PR. No word on his availability for future contests, but stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, Seth Curry also missed the game with a left shoulder injury, but Rick Carlisle said he hopes the guard can play Tuesday night against Sacramento. Yogi Ferrell got the start at point in his absence.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (32-44) will play the Sacramento Kings (40-34) on Tuesday at the at 9:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 74: Mavs at Pelicans

    Highlights: Mavs vs. Pelicans

    Check out all the top plays from Wednesday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Mavs are determined not to let disappointing loss to OKC affect them on road trip

    DALLAS — Despite surrendering a 15-point lead and eventually falling to a 92-91 defeat Monday night against Oklahoma City, the Dallas Mavericks know they must quickly move on in order to preserve their playoff hopes during an upcoming five-game road trip.

    Going scoreless during the final 3:30 of play while Oklahoma City finished Monday’s game on a 14-0 run, the Mavericks (31-42) seemingly watched helplessly as MVP candidate Russell Westbrook and the Thunder stole a victory on the road. The Mavs will now attempt to quickly make amends for that disappointing loss and a 1-3 homestand during the next five games on the road, beginning the difficult stretch Wednesday night in New Orleans. That said, the Mavericks know they can’t allow the bitter taste of Monday’s loss to linger if they’re going to find success away from home, hoping to crack a dent in their four-game deficit behind Portland for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.

    “We don’t have a choice. No one is going to feel bad for us. Maybe we need a little road, us-against-the-world mentality. It’s basketball, and you’ve got to love it,” Mavs swingman Wesley Mathews proclaimed after tying a team high with 15 points during the loss.

    “I mean, we came out with the right attitude (on Monday) to start the game out,” he added. “They came out more aggressive in the third quarter. There were too many turnovers, and we still built the lead up. They got more physical, but we were there. It was our game, and they took it. We can’t do (anything) about it now. We’ve got to move on.”

    Leading by as many as 15 in the first half during Monday’s defeat, the Mavericks took a 50-35 advantage into the midway mark. The Mavs then overcame a furious run by Westbrook and the Thunder in the third quarter to pull within one, taking a 69-57 lead into the fourth period after finishing the third on a 13-2 run.

    However, after going ahead by 13 at 91-78 with 3:30 remaining following a three-pointer by undrafted rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell, the Mavericks would grow stagnant down the stretch. And with Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes struggling to just 10 pints during a 4-of-14 shooting night, the Dallas squad couldn’t avoid being outscored 35-22 in the final period as Westbrook tallied up 16 of his game-high 37 points in the last quarter.

    “Well, you know, you’ve got to pick yourself up. That’s what this league is all about,” Barnes said after the loss. “You’ve got to move on to the next game. Obviously, I wasn’t great down the stretch (on Monday), and I’ll be better the next game. That’s the mentality that our team has to have.”

    Traveling to New Orleans for Wednesday’s Southwest Division showdown against the rival Pelicans (31-43), the Mavericks will now attempt to replicate wins in two of the three matchups between the teams this season.

    Despite All-Star MVP Anthony Davis’ game-high 36 points, the Mavs sprinted to a 91-81 home win over the Pelicans when the teams first squared off on Nov. 27. Davis’ 28 points and 16 rebounds then powered the Pelicans to a 111-104 home win on Dec. 26 as the scene shifted to New Orleans’ home floor. The Mavericks moved to 2-1 in the season series from there with a 96-83 win at home on Feb. 25, overshadowing Davis’ 39-point barrage. But if the Mavs are successfully going to seize the season series, it will take elevating their play on the road and not allowing Monday’s disappointing defeat to carry over.

    “There’s not a lot we can take away from (Monday’s loss),” Barnes admitted. “We kind of had the lead and kind of blew it there. What got us that lead, we didn’t really do it down the stretch. So, I think that’s what really came back to bite us.”

    Note: The Mavericks will now begin a five-game road trip Wednesday in New Orleans, taking on the Pelicans. Dallas leads the season series 2-1. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. That game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

    The Mavs return to their home floor on April 7, welcoming in the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 2-1. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on TXA 21 and 103.3 FM ESPN. That 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:

    Seth Curry (left shoulder injury) — day-to-day