Final: Cavaliers 98, Mavs 87

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

This was a meeting of two of the top-seven scorers in NBA history in Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James. Both have surpassed the 30,000-point plateau, making it only the second unique pairing of two members of the 30K club in nearly 30 years. It was the fifth-most combined points of any two players in a game in NBA history, trailing only Karl Malone’s final four face-offs with Michael Jordan in the early-2000s. So outside of MJ and the Mailman, this was the highest-scoring matchup of all-time. Pretty cool to think about.

The Cavs scored just 18 points in the first quarter, which ties for their second-lowest output in the opening frame all season. It’s the second consecutive game the Mavs have kept their opponent under 20 in the first, after limiting the Wolves to just 16 on Friday night.


  • Harrison Barnes might have had his best offensive game as a Maverick tonight. Barnes scored 30 points on an easy 10-of-19 shooting clip, including knocking down five of his 10 3-point attempts. He added five made free throws on as many attempts and five assists. He’s now averaging 21.7 points per game in his last 15 contests on nearly 45 percent shooting and 43 percent from beyond the arc, plus 2.8 assists. Those are spectacular numbers. A big source of his efficiency has come from the pull-up 3-pointer, which he’s beginning to shoot more and more. I lost track of how many he took tonight (I believe most if not all of his attempts were off the bounce) but heading into this one he was 8 of 18 on off-the-dribble treys since the All-Star break. If he really was 5 of 10 on them tonight, that bumps him up to 13 of 28 since the break, which is absurd efficiency.

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    He just steps into that shot so easily. Last season he said he sometimes just didn’t have the legs to shoot the 3-ball consistently, but now that he’s playing more small forward and banging with the bigs less often around the rim, maybe he’s got a little more spring in his step. He also ran another pick-and-roll as the ball-handler with Dennis Smith Jr. and the Mavs got a bucket out of it.

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    He’s really come a long way these last 15 games.

  • Any reason is a good reason to show a Dennis Smith Jr. dunk.

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    There isn’t much more to say about this play other than wow, that guy is really good and exciting and can jump extremely high. It was a nice move, obviously, spinning off his defender and then rising for the strong finish over the help. But yeah. It was awesome.

  • We know Doug McDermott can shoot it, but who know he had this kind of footwork and touch?

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    McDermott smoothly and easily strode into a one-legged fadeaway with some really nice footwork and body control. That’s not an easy move to pull off at half-speed, let alone nearly at full speed. He’s got so much talent and is still only in his mid-20s. It’s gonna be really interesting to see the kind of player he can become with two or three more years of work and experience.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (23-54) will play the Portland Trail Blazers (47-29) on Tuesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

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