Final: Bucks 96, Mavs 95
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
After falling behind by 16 points at halftime, the Mavericks outscored the Bucks 36-24 in the third quarter to bring the score to within four points at 79-75. Dallas did it by scoring 1.714 points per possession in the frame, one of the club’s most efficient scoring frames of the entire season. Behind four offensive rebounds and just two turnovers, the Mavericks were able to attack the basket and use penetration to create inside-out offense, always a good way to generate clean looks both from the lane and behind the arc.
Of the 45 shots the Mavs took in the first half, 26 were three-pointers, good for 57.8 percent of their total field goal attempts. The Mavs hit only six of them. The Houston Rockets lead the league in percentage of attempts coming from deep at 36.6, but the Mavericks were well ahead of that tonight. The Bucks are very long at every position so it’s difficult to get downhill and into the lane, so the Mavs were forced to settle for more treys than they probably would have hoped for. They bounced back to shoot 8 of 18 from deep in the second half, however.
This game was another example of the Mavericks responding well to adversity. Dallas trailed by 16 at halftime and came all the way back to tie the game inside three minutes remaining. Trailing by one point with 37.4 seconds left, Dirk Nowitzki put the ball on the floor in crunch time and drew a shooting foul to give the Mavs a chance at the lead. He made both, giving Dallas a 95-94 lead. Deron Williams then drew an offensive foul on a HARD screen by the young Giannis Antetokounmpo to give the ball back to the Mavs. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, as Williams missed a great look at yet another game-winner. A team’s “veteranness” isn’t something you can really quantify, but it seems like the Mavs are always able to get back into games after getting off to slow starts. The goal, of course, is to avoid having to do that altogether, but you can only play the game that’s in front of you. Dallas did well to get back into this thing tonight, obviously.
Devin Harris was terrific tonight, providing energy and sorely needed scoring off the bench, especially in the first half. The 2-guard is so dynamic when he gets going in transition, as he’s maybe the best Maverick when it comes to attacking the basket 1-on-1 or even 1-on-2 in the open floor. The rest of the team struggling from deep didn’t seem to bother him, either, as he hit three of his seven attempts from deep. He’s been in and out of the lineup with various small injuries this season, but nights like these remind us all why he’s such a valuable piece of this team when he’s healthy.
The Bucks scored 34 points in the paint in the first half alone, attacking Dallas all game long. It didn’t help that several of those points came on breakaways off of turnovers. Given they were playing from behind, Dallas had to spread the floor with shooters, resulting in a smaller lineup. The Bucks, meanwhile, don’t have many players smaller than 6-foot-5 on the roster, so Milwaukee had a significant size advantage. The result was too much activity in the paint, and the Mavs couldn’t counter it. Tactical decisions like going small are always very difficult to make for a coach, because sometimes in order to do some things well, you become worse at other things.
What a drive to the hoop and finish by JaVale McGee, who makes a few plays every game that maybe a handful of other guys his size can replicate.
Also in the highlight department, check out this outlet pass from Zaza Pachulia to a streaking Chandler Parsons. Shades of Wes Unseld.
Deron Williams banged his right elbow at one point in the first half and left the game, but came back in after halftime. The point guard kept ice on it while he was out of the game and was wearing a protective sleeve on it upon his return. Williams has unfortunately picked up a few minor bump-and-bruise types of injuries in the last couple weeks. All part of the NBA season, of course, but hopefully his physical rough patch is almost in the rear view mirror.
The Mavs (21-16) play the Minnesota Timberwolves (12-24) Sunday at the Target Center. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. Central.