The Fast Break: Mavs at Thunder

Final: Mavs 116, Thunder 113

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

The Mavs scored 35 points in the first quarter tonight, two days after scoring 36 in New Orleans. It was the fourth time this season they’ve cracked 35 in the first, which is more times than last season (twice) and the year before that one, too (three times).

After scoring a whopping 30 fast break points against the Pelicans two days ago, the Mavericks didn’t score a single point on the break tonight, which is a crazy turnaround. Rick Carlisle admitted that the game in New Orleans didn’t necessarily go the way the Mavs wanted it to, even though they got the win. Much of that had to do with the sometimes breakneck pace of things. Dallas played a much more controlled game tonight and still managed to score pretty efficiently.

Notebook

  • Dennis Smith Jr. might not have put together a triple-double, but he still had an unbelievable stretch run. The rookie point guard hit back-to-back 3-pointers (including banking one in) late to give the Mavs the lead, first 108-106 and then 111-108. The next time down the floor he missed a tough contested 2 late in the shot clock, but would later add a big-time layup in the final minute to put Dallas up three points.

    He’d add three free throws to help ice it. Smith scored 19 points and added six assists and five rebounds. Those are the kinds of plays that could give him heaps of confidence moving forward, especially late in games once the pressure heats up. Smith was previously just 5 of 19 from the field in clutch situations (final five minutes and the score within five points) heading into this game, per NBA Stats. He doesn’t lack for confidence, obviously, but those are the shots that will only keep him that way.

  • Harrison Barnes scored below his season average three straight games heading into this one, but he was magnificent tonight. Oklahoma City switches pretty often but has length at almost every possession, making its defense tough to exploit via mismatches. That meant Barnes and the Mavs had to work deep into the shot clock to find good shots, often leaving Barnes one-on-one with just a few seconds to create.

    He ended the game with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including knocking down four 3-pointers, the most he’s made in a game since Oct. 28.

  • Teamwork makes the dream work. Early in the game Raymond Felton missed a 3-pointer and the carom sent the ball over the glass, resulting in an out of bounds. However, the ball got stuck atop a rail behind the backboard.

    If this were a playground game, the players would have had to get resourceful to find a way to get it down. But this the NBA, land of giants. So J.J. Barea decided to use one of those tall humans to his advantage.

    The only problem is it didn’t work. BUT it gave us a funny gif. Happy New Year.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (13-25) will play the Golden State Warriors (29-8) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 38: Mavs at Thunder

    GAME RECAP: Mavericks 116, Thunder 113

    Harrison Barnes leads the Mavericks with 24 points as Dallas takes down Oklahoma City 116-113. Russell Westbrook had a triple-double for the Thunder with 38 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists.

    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Thunder

    Final: Mavs 97, Thunder 81

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavericks allowed just 37 points in the first half, the fewest they surrendered in the opening act all season. They held teams to 37 or less six times last season.

    Dallas extended its streak of winning third quarters to four games in this one, outscoring OKC 26-18 in the frame. The Mavs won the previous three by nine, 12, and most recently 19 points. It’s so much easier to start closing the door on a win — or erasing a huge halftime deficit, as was the case on Wednesday — when you can stay positive in the penultimate frame.

    Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 19 points in this one.

    Notebook

  • Harrison Barnes is a much more patient scorer this season, and that’s been a big reason for his success lately. When combined with anticipation and a feel for the game, playing at a more comfortable speed allows Barnes to score buckets like this, where he sees the baseline double-team coming and goes up for a shot-fake without traveling or panicking.

    Much has been written about his ability to get to the free throw line more often this season, too, and the next play is a great example of some of the tricks he’s picked up to allow that to happen.

    Barnes worked his smaller, lighter defender down into the paint and turned around for a shot fake. He fooled his man, but he didn’t fool Steven Adams — with the first one, at least. There were only about six seconds left on the shot clock and Barnes had picked up his dribble, but he stuck with the play and pump-faked again, and this time Adams bit. That was all Barnes needed to get to the line. That’s a really simple play that wouldn’t have been possible had Barnes rushed the shot or not felt the second defender coming. He’s turning into a really, really good scorer.

  • Dennis Smith Jr. basically owns the Mavericks’ all-time teenager record book. We’ll all have to set that stuff in stone, though, as today the rook turned 20 years old. So begins his 365-day quest to top Dirk’s numbers. That’s for another discussion, though. This was Smith’s second matchup with Russell Westbrook, and unlike the previous meeting, this time around Smith was tasked with the responsibility of guarding the reigning MVP for the majority of time he was on the floor. Once can imagine how tough it must be to try staying in front of that guy, but tonight Smith did his best and for the most part kept Westbrook on the outside. That didn’t stop him from breaking 25, but that’s what the best players always do. Smith overcame two early fouls in the first quarter to score 15 on his birthday — and score a win, which for him is the best part.

  • Rick Carlisle is always a really entertaining guy to watch on the sideline. He can be animated when calling a timeout, he sometimes walks very far onto the floor to call a play, and he always becomes very familiar with the officiating crew. Watch here as Carlisle buddies up with the nearest official and then shares his thoughts on Carmelo Anthony’s footwork.

    Melo certainly dragged his pivot foot, and Carlisle made sure the refs were on top of it. They might have been anyway, but it never hurts to reinforce the point. His applause after the call made it even better.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (5-15) will play the San Antonio Spurs (12-7) on Monday at the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 20: Mavs vs. Thunder

    GAME RECAP: Mavericks 97, Thunder 81

    Dirk Nowitzki finishes with a season-high 19 points as the Mavericks get an upset victory over the Thunder, 97-81.

    The Fast Break: Mavs at Thunder

    Final: Thunder 112, Mavs 99

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    Harrison Barnes finished with 13 rebounds in this one, a night after grabbing 12 against Cleveland. This was the first time in his career he’s recorded consecutive 12-rebound performances.

    Notebook

  • Dennis Smith Jr. was coming off a stretch of back-to-back games with at least seven assists and two turnovers or fewer, but tonight he committed five giveaways. Playing point guard is never easy, but doing it for two nights in a row is like jumping from learning your times tables to solving a quadratic equation. Aside from the physical rigors of playing the game, there’s a lot of mental exhaustion involved too, and you wonder if that may have played a role in Smith being a little looser with the ball tonight. The Mavs will have a day off tomorrow, though, so hopefully he and the team can regroup and come back sharper on Tuesday night.

  • Harrison Barnes is becoming a consistent scorer again, now with 20-plus-points in four of his last five games, the lone exception being a 17-point outing. For this team to win games, Barnes has got to score a lot, and score it efficiently. The team result obviously wasn’t there tonight, but Barnes scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including connecting on two of his four 3-point attempts. This team’s foundation at the moment is clearly Barnes and Smith, so those are the two guys who must consistently bring it on a nightly basis. Barnes has been at that point, and Smith is starting to get there.

  • Smith has done a terrific job for the most part with avoiding frustration when he attacks the basket and takes contact but doesn’t get a call. He drives almost 13 times per game, per SportVU, but earns just 1.8 free throw attempts per game off those drives. He takes plenty of contact in those situations but usually just doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. As he continues to attack, though, he’ll earn more whistles. The key in the meantime, though, is to continue to be aggressive. He did that tonight, attacking the lane 15 times, but he got rewarded with only one free throw attempt.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (2-12) will play the San Antonio Spurs (8-5) on Tuesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 14: Mavs at Thunder

    Smith Jr. Alley-Oop Dunk

    Wesley Matthews throws up the pass to Dennis Smith Jr. for the alley-oop jam

    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