The Fast Break: Mavs at Wizards

Final: Mavs 113, Wizards 99

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

The Mavericks scored 36 points in the first quarter, the club’s highest-scoring opening frame since Dallas dropped 38 on the Lakers on March 7, 2017. You’ll probably remember that night as the one when Dirk Nowitzki joined the 30,000-point club. The Big German had 18 points in the first that night. This time around it wasn’t only Dirk doing all the heavy lifting, though, which was good to see. Dennis Smith Jr. got off to a monster start and that seemed to propel the rest of the team forward.

Dallas has now won nine straight games on the road against the Wizards. It’s the team’s longest active road winning streak against any opponent.

Salah Mejri has now blocked 12 shots in his last four games, including four swats in the second half. He finished with 10 points, 12 boards, and five blocks off the bench. It’s the second time he’s had a 10/10/5 game as a sub, and the only other Mavs in franchise history to have one of those games are Shawn Bradley and Roy Tarpley.

Dallas was +14 on the glass tonight, the club’s highest rebounding differential since Jan. 22, 2017, when the Mavs were +17 against the L.A. Lakers.

Notebook

  • This was the Mavs’ most inspired performance of the season. They dove on the floor, chased down loose balls, attacked the offensive glass, and ran, ran, and ran some more. They simply played harder than the Wizards, which is dangerous in combination with good shot-making. The Mavericks never trailed and, outside of a shaky start to the fourth quarter, the game was never really all that close. Dallas was in control all night, which has a lot to do with the play of Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. When those two are going like they were tonight, the Mavs are gonna be a tough out no matter who they’re playing. There’s your 1-2 punch for hopefully many years to come.

  • Dennis Smith Jr. is already good, but he’s starting to flash some special, special potential. The 19-year-old had an incredible stat line tonight: 22 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. The only two other Mavericks to reach that stat line in the last 10 years are Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. Smith was unbelievable, showing the ability to get to the rim at will — even against a long, super-fast defender like John Wall — while mixing in a nice floor game and court vision. Sometimes Smith is still guilty of pressing a bit and forcing some shots, but you expect rookies to do those things. You don’t expect a rookie to be able to do stuff like this, though.

    And he still does this stuff, which is cool.


  • Harrison Barnes has found his groove in recent games. Barnes got off to a pretty rough start from the field this season, but he’s more than made up for it. In his last six games before this one he’s averaged 18.3 points and 6.0 rebounds on 49.4/39.3 shooting splits, and tonight he poured in a season-high 31 on 11-of-18 shooting, in addition going 7 of 8 from the free throw line. It’s no secret that a huge part of his success lately has come from attacking the basket relentlessly, especially against switched guards. As long as he can keep attacking, he’s going to have no problem shooting a high percentage because he’s become such a good finisher.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (2-10) will play the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-6) on Saturday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 12: Mavs at Wizards

    GAME RECAP: Mavs 113, Wizards 99

    Harrison Barnes led the way with a game and season-high 31 points and Dennis Smith Jr. added a career-high 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Mavs defeat the Wizards, 113-99.

    The Fast Break: Mavs at Wizards

    Final: Mavs 112, Wizards 107

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs assisted on 13 of their 20 made field goals in the first half, with 10 of those dimes coming from J.J. Barea. That represented a big step forward for Dallas, who’d been averaging just 18.0 assists per game through the last three games. Before this one, Rick Carlisle said the offense needed more ball movement, and we saw that tonight in the opening act. As a team, the Mavericks scored 1.178 points per possession in the first two quarters.

    The Wizards had lost at home only three times since Dec. 6 heading into this one, and they carried an 18-0 record on their own floor when leading after three quarters. They’ve been very, very difficult to beat at the Verizon Center this season.

    Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 19 rim attacks, counting drives and and cuts. He’s been extremely aggressive going to the basket in recent games, which is good to see, although tonight he somehow shot zero free throws until he took an intentional foul with the game basically decided.

    The Mavericks have now won 13 out of 14 against the Wizards.

    Notebook

  • If you didn’t know who Nico Brussino was before tonight, you do now. The 24-year-old was amazing tonight, and no that’s not an understatement. He was incredible, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds, and two steals in what was easily the best game of his career. Even Dirk Nowitzki got caught up in the moment, and who could blame him?

    It’s surprising to see a player of Nowitzki’s status pass up an open shot, especially on a night when he surpassed the 20-point mark, but the Big German made the right play and Brussino was able to deliver. The Argentinian hasn’t had many chances to play important minutes this season, but he found an opportunity because of Wesley Matthews’ injury and he took advantage of the moment. Just an awesome night for yet another young Maverick, and it led to one of the more unlikely wins of the season for this team, albeit in too-close-for-comfort fashion.

  • J.J. Barea has worked his way back into the swing of things since returning to action against Brooklyn. You could tell in his first couple games that he may have been a tad out of rhythm, which is understandable considering he’d missed so much time. But he looked pretty comfortable two nights ago against the Raptors, and incredibly so tonight. Barea checked into the game less than four minutes in and completely changed the feel of the first quarter. He ultimately finished with a season-high 13 assists. It was around this time last season that he messed around and won Western Conference Player of the Week. The Mavs could certainly use that same type of impact as they pursue the eighth playoff spot.

  • After shooting just 3 of 16 combined from the field in his previous two outings, Seth Curry bounced back tonight, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki are the two players on this roster relied on more than any others to generate points in bunches on a nightly basis, but Curry has quickly established himself as a very solid scoring guard in his role. If nothing else, his 3-point shooting is an extremely important element to this team’s offense, as it helps to space the floor for all the underneath stuff Dirk and Barnes do. Teams have been focusing more on him as he’s lit up the league for the last couple months, which has certainly altered the types of looks he’s been getting. Curry and the Mavs will need to make the necessary adjustments, and tonight appeared to be a step in the right direction.

  • Nerlens Noel made his return to action tonight after missing the last three games with left knee soreness. It’s pretty clear why his return is a positive; he’s one of the better centers in the league, and probably the best center who comes off the bench. He makes an impact at both ends of the floor that not many other players at his position can replicate. Wesley Matthews, meanwhile, missed the game with a calf strain he suffered in Toronto. He was considered a game-time decision earlier today, so perhaps he can get back into the mix Friday in Philadelphia. In injury news for Washington, meanwhile, John Wall suffered a sprained left foot just before halftime, and he stayed on the ground for some time after the injury. It looked pretty bad. But he returned in the second half and, though he may not have had the same burst he does when healthy, he was still very effective.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (29-38) will play the Philadelphia 76ers (24-43) on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center at 6 p.m. Central.

  • The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Wizards

    Final: Mavs 113, Wizards 105

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs shot only 43.5 percent from the field in the second quarter, but 12 free throw attempts kept the offense producing points. Dallas is one of the bottom teams in the league when it comes to creating trips to the line, but Harrison Barnes has been getting better at drawing fouls, and the rest of the Mavs in this one were aggressive attacking the basket, too. The Mavericks scored 1.1 points per possession in the frame. If you do that every quarter, you’re in good shape.

    Harrison Barnes tied his career-high with five assists. That might not seem like too impressive a number, but it’s important to remember, as always, that Barnes was playing such a minor role for the Warriors in his first four seasons so he never really had the ball in his hands in a position to make plays for his teammates. Meanwhile in Dallas, Barnes hasn’t yet been much of a facilitator, either, especially when playing in isolation. But tonight Barnes was looking to move the ball to spot-up guys all night long, and he did it with nice efficiency, too, turning the ball over only twice.

    Notebook

  • The Mavs have said the young guys must be more consistent, and they’re right. But tonight we saw the young guys produce. Harrison Barnes had his 19th 20-point game as a Maverick, Seth Curry was huge off the bench, and Dorian Finney-Smith started over Andrew Bogut. Dallas has a much friendlier schedule to begin 2017 than it faced in 2016, both in terms of travel and quality of opponent. The club knows it must take advantage of that fact now if it has any chance of making the playoffs, and tonight was the first step in that journey.

  • Devin Harris had what was easily his best game of the season, and one of his best since rejoining the Mavericks, frankly. The guard finished with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including hitting four of his seven 3-point attempts. He dazzled to end the first quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and long 2-pointer in about 30 seconds to end the quarter strong for Dallas. So much of what Harris does for this team can go unappreciated or unnoticed at times because his numbers are rarely ever gaudy, but he brings such a dynamic presence on both ends when he’s in the game. He’s the speediest Maverick and he can wreak havoc defensively by playing passing lanes and taking charges. It’s good to see him have such a big game.

  • In addition to Harris, the rest of the Mavs’ bench was productive, as well. Seth Curry scored 16 points and Dwight Powell added eight, while Andrew Bogut — coming off the bench for the first time as a Maverick — brought his usual brand of defense and rebounding into the mix. A lot has been changing constantly all season long for the Mavericks, but if the bench can continue to produce at this kind of level, or anywhere near it, the Mavs are going to be in solid shape moving forward in January.

  • John Wall is a stunning talent. The Wizards point guard almost singlehandedly launched a 20-3 blitz to end the first half, even scoring the team’s final 13 points himself. In the process, he also forced three Deron Williams turnovers in a minute. Wall is possibly the fastest player in the NBA, and he reaches his top speed in one step. On the final play of the third quarter, he took an inbound pass at midcourt and got all the way to the rim for a layup in less than four seconds, driving past at least three Mavericks in the process. It really is something to watch him play in-person.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (11-24) play the Phoenix Suns (10-24) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 35: Mavs vs. Wizards

    Highlights: Mavs vs. Wizards

    Check out all the top plays from the Mavs' 113-105 win over the Wizards Tuesday night.

    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Wizards

    Final: Wizards 114, Mavs 111

    Box Score | Highlights

    Behind the Box Score

    The Mavs got off to a very strong start in the first quarter, scoring 1.217 points per possession in the opening frame. But the Wizards held serve themselves, hitting 63.2 percent in the first and 55.0 percent during the entire first half. It’s tough to beat a team that starts so hot, even though Dallas defended many of those shots very well.

    Raymond Felton messed around and got a triple-double. He finished with 10 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds, becoming the first Maverick to do so since Jason Kidd on March 1, 2011. The last non-Kidd triple-double was by Dirk Nowitzki on March 29, 2010.

    Notebook

  • The Mavericks staged a furious rally in the closing seconds of the game to get to within three points, 112-109, with 32.4 seconds on the clock. The Mavs trailed by 18 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and Washington stretched the lead to as high as 21. After a stop, Dallas brought it to within 112-111 after J.J. Barea was fouled in transition with 4.4 seconds left.

  • Wesley Matthews had another productive shooting night from deep against the Wizards. After sinking a career-high 10 treys last weekend in Washington, Matthews knocked down 6 of 11 attempts in this one. When he’s hitting, it does change the dynamic of how teams defend the Mavericks, especially those who like playing small. It becomes more difficult to double-team Dirk Nowitzki in those situations because the defense can’t rotate in time to contest his shots. No matter the result of a game, it’s always a good sign to see Matthews’ shots falling.

  • Williams didn’t play in the game due to a stomach ailment and his presence was missed. The point guard has such good command of the offense and can almost always get Dallas into a good set on offense. Felton got the start at point guard, and while he dished out a team-high 7 assists, he’s performed even better in the 2-guard spot next to Williams. D-Will’s absence prevented the Mavs from rolling out the Williams/Felton/Matthews/Dirk Nowitzki/Zaza Pachulia lineup, which is still the best in basketball among high-usage groups.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (13-11) play the Phoenix Suns (10-14) Monday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.

  • Game 24: Mavs vs. Wizards

    Wizards vs. Mavericks

    Raymond Felton recorded a triple-double and the Mavs staged a last minute comeback but it wasn't enough as they fall to the Wizards, 114-111.