The Fast Break: Mavs at Pelicans

Final: Pelicans 115, Mavs 105

Box Score | Highlights

Notebook

  • Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 12 rim attacks tonight, which is a relatively high number for him. In the absence of Dennis Smith Jr. and with J.J. Barea splitting point guard duties fairly evenly with Yogi Ferrell, Barnes was the lone heavy-minute player who can consistently break down the defense and get into the paint. He’s been a much more effective driver this season than he was in his first campaign with the Mavs, and his relentless attacking has been the driving force behind perhaps the best run of his career. In his last nine games heading into this one, Barnes was averaging better than 22 points per game and attempt more than six free throws per contest. He attempted only two from the charity stripe tonight, but to lead the team in rim attacks means you’re doing something right. The free throws will come if Barnes remains as aggressive as he was tonight and has been for the better part of the last month or so.

  • Find someone who looks at you the way Melvin Hunt looked at Kyle Collinsworth after the rookie drained a 3-pointer in the first half.

    Collinsworth scored a career-high eight points tonight, adding five assists and two boards. Two nights after Jalen Jones scored 16 and on the same road trip when Jameel Warney made a name for himself and Johnathan Motley returned to action with the NBA squad, Collinsworth became the next young Maverick to put together a nice performance in extended playing time. It’s important that those guys play well when they get on the floor for themselves, of course, but also so the Mavs know what they have in some of their youngest players. Collinsworth is signed to a multi-year deal and Jones and Motley are both on two-way contracts, meaning the club has the power to bring back all three if that’s what the Dallas front office wants to do. If Collinsworth can prove he can hit the 3-pointer and continue playing strong defense, you’ve got to think he has a very good chance to remain with the Mavs in the future. He’s already a strong-bodied wing who can defend multiple positions and make plays. The long-ball would be a huge bonus.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (22-49) will play the Utah Jazz (40-30) on Thursday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 71: Mavs at Pelicans

    Powell Finishes The Oop

    Dwight Powell catches the lob from J.J. Barea with one hand and slams the alley-oop dunk.

    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Pelicans

    Final: Pelicans 126, Mavs 109

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    Dirk Nowitzki moved past Elvin Hayes (10,976) for eighth place on the all-time career field goals made list tonight. Another achievement for Nowitzki.

    Notebook

  • The Mavs went to a Dennis Smith Jr.-Harrison Barnes two-man tame tonight more deliberately and consistently than I can remember in any game they’ve played this season. The Mavs cleared out the entire left side of the floor for the two players, similar to how the club played the Dirk-JET two-man game back in the late-2000s (although they played on the right side of the floor back then). The results were frequently positive.

    The Mavs can go so many directions out of that two-man set. They can run a hand-off for Smith as they did in that play, run a pick-and-pop or pick-and-roll, or re-screen a couple times until they get a favorable look. The Pelicans switch pretty liberally — as do most teams these days — so if you run enough screens, eventually one of the two players will be able to draw a mismatch. At that point, it just comes down to taking advantage of the situation. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep going to that in future games as often as they did tonight. Both Smith (23 points) and Barnes (18) had solid scoring nights.

  • Barnes has 10 assists in last three games, including three tonight and five on Wednesday. Barnes is going to play more small forward for the rest of this season, meaning he’ll likely have the ball in his hands more to facilitate than he does when he plays power forward. For example, he found Doug McDermott here out of a post-up after attracting a double-team.

    Barnes is proven enough as a scorer to command respect when he has the ball, especially in a favorable position like on the block or at the elbow. If he can also show an ability to read the defense and move the ball effectively, it’s going to add another dimension to his game and to his team’s offense.

  • Dirk trailing 3s forever and ever.

    There are a lot of things in life to be upset about. No one makes as much money as they want to. People often feel wronged by the ones they love. No one likes paying taxes. But for every single thing that has made you miserable for the last two decades, Dirk Nowitzki has hit a trailing 3 from the top of the arc. That, more than the one-legged fade, is what this sport will be missing the most whenever the Big German decides to hang ’em up. (Hopefully it’s after next year, not this year.) Yes, that trailing 3 is mesmerizing.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (19-45) will play the Denver Nuggets (35-28) on Tuesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 64: Mavs vs. Pelicans

    Nowitzki Three At The Buzzer

    Dirk Nowitzki knocks down the three at the buzzer to end the first quarter.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.