The Fast Break: Mavs at Spurs

Final: Spurs 98, Mavs 96

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

Tonight was Dirk Nowitzki’s 1,424th game, tying Kevin Willis for sixth place on the all-time career games played list. If Nowitzki ends up playing all 82 games this season, he’ll move past Kevin Garnett and into a tie with Karl Malone for fourth place all-time at 1,476. Playing all 82 would be some feat at this age, but that’s Nowitzki’s goal. (And so is staying healthy and happy enough to play season No. 21.)

Notebook

  • Dirk Nowitzki could hit turnaround jumpers over helplessly mismatched point guards until he’s 50 years old.

    The German has now scored at least 16 points in four of his last eight games and has scored 18-plus two games in a row. He’s been in a really nice run of form lately, and it remains extremely fun to watch him work when he’s got it going. That guy is 39 years old and he’s still getting buckets. Incredible.

  • Yogi Ferrell filled up the stat sheet tonight. The second-year pro finished 17 points, a career-high 11 rebounds, and six assists. He became the first Mavs point guard to have a points/rebounds double-double since Jason Kidd. Ferrell has done a nice job filling in at starting 1 for the injured Dennis Smith Jr., scoring in double-figures in four straight games. One thing that’s been tough to manage while he’s been starting, however, is finding a way to bend the rotation so that he still gets on the court alongside J.J. Barea and Devin Harris. Rick Carlisle was able to make it happen in the first half, and the Mavs immediately went on a 7-0 run. Here was the first bucket of said run.

    Ferrell hit us all with the hesi and got to the rim. It was one of many nice plays he made in this one, with most of them coming on the inglorious boards.

  • Last year was Yogimania, and now might it be time for Maximania…? That dude is ballin’ lately, and it continued tonight. Kleber scored a career-high 21 points, becoming the first Mavs rookie forward since Dirk Nowitzki to score at least 20 in a game, per Basketball-Reference, a stat that’s almost too poetic to be true. Kleber did it in a variety of ways, draining three 3s but also mixing in a nice alley-oop layup from Nowitzki and a vicious dunk.


    What’s Next

    The Mavs (8-22) will play the Phoenix Suns (9-21) on Monday at the American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 30: Mavs at Spurs

    Yogi Fadeaway Three

    Yogi Ferrell drives to the arc and drills the fadeaway three.

    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Spurs

    Final: Mavs 95, Spurs 89

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    Due to Yogi Ferrell starting, it takes quite a bit of maneuvering to get the Barea-Ferrell-Harris-Dirk-Powell lineup on the floor. But Rick Carlisle was able to pull it off in the fourth quarter of this one, and that group outscored the Spurs by nine points in just a few minutes with inspired play at both ends, including maybe Dwight Powell’s most effective game of the season.

    The Spurs had won the previous five games in the series at American Airlines Center heading into this one. Last season the Mavs ended a heck of a drought by winning in San Antonio, too. The Spurs remain an elite team in this conference, but Dallas has managed to play them awfully competitively now for a couple years.

    Notebook

  • J.J. Barea is a wizard. Watch these plays and then tell me that magic isn’t real.

    Show me all the evidence suggesting the opposite that you want, but I’ll tell you you’re wrong. That Barea is 33 years old and still doing this to opposing teams is a testament not only to his longevity, but also his ability to keep working to improve even at this stage of his career.

  • The Spurs are notorious for double-teaming bigger players in the post, especially when they have a mismatch, which really forces those guys to be aware and able to make good passes. When executed well, those situations can produce some really beautiful basketball, like in the sequences below.

    If Harrison Barnes can ever become the passer Dirk Nowitzki is, especially out of double-teams, he can become a really special player and a very difficult guy for opposing teams to guard.

  • Antonius Cleveland didn’t get as many minutes tonight as he did on Sunday in Minnesota, but the rookie was still able to block another mid-range pull-up, which has become one of the toughest shots to block in the league. This time around, he got Kawhi Leonard.

    Leonard made his season debut tonight and was otherwise sensational. (He’s the second key Spur to debut against Dallas this season, joining Tony Parker.) But Cleveland was still able to make some nice plays against the superstar forward, which gives you hope that he can continue to improve in his blossoming role off the bench.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (8-20) will play the Golden State Warriors (22-6) on Thursday at Oracle Arena at 9:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 28: Mavs vs. Spurs

    GAME RECAP: Mavericks 95, Spurs 89

    Harrison Barnes notches 17 points and six assists as the Mavericks spoil Kawhi Leonard's season debut with a 95-89 win over the Spurs.

    Despite returning home after winless road trip, Mavs were encouraged by positive signs of improved play

    DALLAS — Despite returning home after a winless three-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks say they saw encouraging signs that they hope to build on moving forward.

    Suffering a 97-90 defeat last Wednesday in Boston against the NBA-best Celtics to begin their road trip, the Mavericks (7-20) failed to bounce back two nights later while falling to a hard-fought 109-102 loss Friday at Milwaukee. The Mavs then came up short in an attempt to right the ship Sunday in Minnesota, slipping to 0-3 in the season series with the Timberwolves after a 97-92 defeat. Now, the Mavericks will look to get on track Tuesday during the third showdown of the season with the in-state rival San Antonio Spurs. But after failing to close out their last three games, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki admits that the Mavs will have work to do in order to get over the hump.

    “You know, it feels like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Nowitzki explained after Sunday’s loss. “Every time we’re right there, you know, it’s a bad turnover, a guy makes a tough shot, or they make a layup after we don’t box out. It’s just little things here and there, and three tough ballgames in a row. It’s just not going to get it done, but we’re obviously encouraged by what we did these three games. We’ve just got to find ways when we’re right there to get over the hump. … I just feel like every time we’re right there we just can’t get over the hump.”

    The Mavericks held fourth-quarter leads in each of the last three games, failing to take advantage of the opportunities as their opponents staged furious rallies. That was again the case Sunday night in Minnesota as the Mavs struggled to keep the Timberwolves off the glass for four quarters.

    The Timberwolves outshot the Mavericks for the game, 50 percent to 45.7 percent, adding a 45-33 rebounding advantage. Perhaps more importantly, Minnesota converted 20 second-chance points, overshadowing the Timberwolves’ 18 turnovers. The Mavs will now attempt to execute better against the rival Spurs (19-8). But after suffering two losses at the hands of the Spurs by a total of 13 points last month, the Mavericks know they will have to take advantage of every opportunity Tuesday night on their home floor.

    “It’s just little things. I can remember off the top of my head at least five missed layups right in front of the basket point blank (against Minnesota), so that’s 10 points right there in a one-possession ballgame,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews explained. “That team has been scoring a lot of points in their wins. They finished with under 100, and we were fouling. It’s really been coming down to us. … We’ve been getting the stops that we need. It’s just the uncharacteristic misses on our part.”

    “We had great opportunities. We just have to keep getting them,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed. “The biggest issue (Sunday night) was the rebounding. We knew it was going to be a problem, and the 16 second-chance points in the first half was a killer. But we still had a one-point lead, and in the second half we did a lot better. But they’re a good team. They made some plays, and we have to get the ball in the basket a little more and get a few more boards.”

    Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center against the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 2-0. That 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:

    Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) — out
    Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
    Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
    Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out
    Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — not with the team

    Despite pushing Spurs for 48 minutes, Mavs took no moral victories from loss in San Antonio

    DALLAS — Despite pushing the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs for the better part of four quarters Monday night, the Dallas Mavericks returned home disappointed in their performance after suffering a hard-fought 115-108 loss on the road.

    Finishing Monday’s game with seven scorers in double figures, the Mavericks (5-16) displayed plenty of balance on the offensive end. The Mavs also attempted to lock in on defense after claiming back-to-back wins and three victories in their previous four outings. But after surrendering a pivotal 10-0 San Antonio run late in the fourth quarter that took the Spurs’ lead from one to 11, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t happy with his team’s play down the stretch. That said, Carlisle confesses that the Mavericks left the court with no moral victories after fighting valiantly against one of the NBA’s upper-echelon teams.

    “Well, there were usually mistakes that led to runs for them,” Carlisle explained. “You know, we had some untimely turnovers. We didn’t have a big turnover total, but we had some untimely turnovers that started runs. There were times we got hurt with their length and not recognizing that there’s big, tall tress in the lane. We’ve got to do a better job with that kind of stuff. And then we just had a few mistakes with coverages. On the road in a game where you need precision, we just can’t have those things happen.

    “Balance is a very important thing, but it’s all a little bit pointless to me if the result isn’t where you need it to be,” the coach added. “It’s good to do a few good things, but no one around here is into moral victories, especially with the first half that we played. And then to come out and not play well for some significant stretches in the second (half) is very disappointing. We have work to do.”

    The Mavericks certainly held their own in the first half, taking a 53-46 advantage into the intermission to overshadow Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge’s 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting through two quarters. The Mavs also outshot the Spurs in the half, 48.8 percent to 47.4 percent, claiming a 21-19 rebounding edge, converting San Antonio’s eight turnovers into 10 points and holding a 27-12 advantage in bench scoring to boot.

    However, that all changed during the final 24 minutes of action as the Mavericks were outscored 69-55 in the last two quarters. And according to rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., the team left the locker room disappointed with how it performed in the latter stage of the game.

    “This was a chance for us to really make a statement,” Smith explained after tying a team high with 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting in the loss. “We had just won two in a row and coming on the road against the Spurs, a really good team. This was a chance for us to make a statement, so we came in believing we could win the game. It didn’t turn out as planned, so everybody’s disappointed.”

    All told, Aldridge scored a season-high 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting to lead six Spurs in double figures, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing four assists as well. The Spurs also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 52.4 percent to 48.2 percent, ending the night with a 43-40 rebounding edge and 17 points off Dallas’ 11 turnovers. That said, the Mavericks know it was an opportunity lost after leading by as many as 13 in the defeat. And according to 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the team’s costly mistakes down the stretch most be corrected before Wednesday’s matchup at home against Brooklyn.

    “We were still right there in the fourth. We had some bad turnovers against their length, we missed some good shots, and they made some big shots,” Nowitzki admitted. “(Bryn) Forbes made a couple ones in transition, Pau (Gasol) got hot, and LaMarcus had it going all night. They have some good players. We just made a few mistakes and missed some coverages. We know in this building we’re against a great team, and you can’t allow mistakes. We just made a few mistakes and a few too many at crucial times.”

    Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor Wednesday night at American Airlines Center against the Brooklyn Nets. 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:

    Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
    Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
    Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

    The Fast Break: Mavs at Spurs

    Final: Spurs 115, Mavs 108

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    Tonight was a matchup of three of the top-four players on the active all-time wins list. Dirk Nowitzki (880) still reigns supreme at the moment, trailed by Tony Parker (831) in second place and Manu Ginobili (734) in fourth place. All three are international players, too, which is pretty awesome. By the way, Jason Terry ranks third on that liast with 752 career Ws. All in all, seven of the top-10 in active wins have played for either the Mavs or Spurs in their career. If you’re telling a story of the NBA’s last 20 seasons, you might as well start with these two teams and work your way down from there. The Lakers won five titles and the Heat peaked high as well, but the two Texas teams sustained longer periods of consistency. It’s very impressive stuff.

    Notebook

  • As has been the case for a decade or more, the Spurs double-teamed Dirk Nowitzki on the baseline pretty much every time he touched it. They did the same thing to Harrison Barnes, too, and he admitted it caught him by surprise the first time he saw that coverage last season. It makes sense to double on the baseline when you’re working at a size disadvantage because the sideline becomes a third defender and you can play passing lanes to force turnovers. Dirk has seen it forever so it doesn’t necessarily fool him at this point, but it means other players have got to make shots when the ball swings their way. Not many teams double-team Dirk anymore as consistently as San Antonio does. It takes a lot of discipline to do it.

  • Dwight Powell has been on a nice little run lately and that continued tonight. Powell ended this game with a +20 plus/minus rating, which is pretty astonishing given the final score. He gives the Mavs a vertical roll presence on offense and has quick hands on defense, which leads to a lot of forced steals. He had four of them in this one. The undersized group with him, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Yogi Ferrell, and Dirk continues to play really good defense, primarily out of the zone. That unit doesn’t include a wing yet manages to force a lot of tough shots and rebounds the ball well, a good recipe for any lineup.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (5-16) will play the Brooklyn Nets (7-12) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.