Final: Hawks 100, Mavs 95
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Hawks shot a blistering 71.9 percent from the field in the first half, good for 1.37 points per possession. The Mavs’ only saving grace was forcing 10 turnovers, which prevented shots from going up and gave Dallas chances the other way. Atlanta led 63-52 at the break. Credit the Mavs, though, for getting back into it in the second half.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 11 points tonight and is now just 46 points away from 30,000 for his career. He’ll become only the sixth player in NBA history to achieve that feat. He also secured double-double No. 401 for his career.
Ben Bentil made his NBA debut tonight. By my count, he’s the seventh Mav to make his first league appearance this season, joining A.J. Hammons, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nicolas Brussino, Jonathan Gibson, Pierre Jackson, and Quinn Cook.
This was the third time in four games that both Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry both scored at least 20 points. Those two have done the bulk of the heavy lifting especially in each of the last two games now. Monday against Miami, they were the only Mavericks to score in double-figures. Tonight, no other Maverick scored more than 11 points. But those two have been in such a good rhythm as of late, both by themselves and together in an emerging two-man game, that the Mavs might as well continue to ride what’s working for them for as long as they can keep it up.
I’m a pretty serious stat nerd, but not even I can’t find this one: What does Seth Curry shoot from the field after using a pump-fake? It must be above 60 percent, or maybe even higher. He’s been money from all over the floor lately after he can juke a defender out of the way, and it’s been really impressive to see. Former Maverick Chandler Parsons had a smooth pump-fake, too, be he usually deployed it in order to set up a dribble-drive. Curry, on the other hand, can pump and then shoot from the same spot he was at, which isn’t something you see very often.
As this season hits the home stretch, one big thing to watch for in my opinion will be home/road splits. The Mavs are younger now than they’ve been in a long, long time, and typically young players tend to play better at home than on the road. The Dallas youngsters committed several unforced errors tonight and, especially in the first half, didn’t look as sharp as they did at times during the win against the Heat earlier this week. Then again, the club awoke in the second half after allowing 72 percent shooting in the first, and Dallas ended up claiming its first lead of the game with four minutes to go. In between the slow start and the dramatic comeback was a long stretch of turnover-heavy play by both teams. The Mavericks thrive on forcing those giveaways, but have tended to win this season because they’ve avoided making mistakes themselves. As Yogi Ferrell, Quinn Cook, and the other guards get more experience, and as Nerlens Noel continues to work his way into the mix, the Mavs should develop better chemistry and play some cleaner ball.
Wesley Matthews missed tonight’s game with a hip injury that Rick Carlisle said the Mavericks do not believe is serious. Still, it sidelined the Iron Man for this one. Nerlens Noel was slated to start the game in his place, but he was late to the team plane and came off the bench as punishment. Rookie Dorian Finney-Smith got the nod instead, but he picked up two very early fouls so Noel entered the game almost immediately anyway, and he also started the second half for the Mavericks. Matthews has been a constant for Dallas in a season full of change, so hopefully for the club’s sake his injury won’t be a long-term thing. Stay tuned for updates there.
The Mavs (24-36) will play the Memphis Grizzlies (36-25) on Friday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.