Final: Mavs 106, Kings 99

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

The Mavs played a very modern game in the first half. They took only three mid-range shots in the first two quarters, which is extremely unusual given they average well into the double-digits per game. Between Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes, Dallas has two of the better mid-range scorers in the game. But the Mavericks were able to get to the rim so often tonight that they didn’t have to settle for 15- or 18-footers. Led by Smith, they got into the paint in 27 of their 42 first-half possessions, scoring 1.44 points per possession in those situations. That is extremely good.


  • J.J. Barea’s return was like the rising tide which lifts all boats. The Mavericks sorely missed their backup point guard these last few games and he quickly showed why, finishing with five points and 11 assists, tying for his third-most in a game all season. There are many ways to frame his impact but perhaps the most effective is going simply by the numbers; the Mavs’ infamous reserve group of Barea, Yogi Ferrell, Devin Harris, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwight Powell went on an 18-0 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters, holding the Kings scoreless for nearly six minutes to begin the final frame. He was sensational. There’s a very real correlation between Barea’s presence and Dwight Powell’s production, as well. In his second consecutive start, Powell finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in one of his finest performances as a pro.

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    Much of Powell’s work came in the pick-and-roll when partnered with Barea and Harris. He’s one of the most efficient roll men in the NBA, and I would wager he’s the best one who comes off the bench — although, of course, he started in this game. It’s a testament to his work ethic and the Mavs’ coaching staff that in just a few years Powell has gone from never rolling to the rim at all to now one of the best in the NBA at his craft.

  • It took Dennis Smith Jr. a while to warm up in this game, scoring just one bucket in the first half. He ended up in double-figures for the 17th straight game, tying Jamal Mashburn for the fourth-longest run by a Mavs rookie in franchise history. All in all, Smith had a tough shooting night as his jumper wasn’t falling, but once again he was living in the paint, and that’s the kind of thing you want to see from him at this point in his career. The jumper is going to continue to develop over time, but his drive game is his bread and butter, especially against big men. He showed off some nice handles and changes of speed tonight.

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    The Mavs did a good job in the third quarter of getting him matched up in space against big men, and he took advantage. Again, the jumper is going to come and go until he develops consistency as his career unfolds, but the plays above are the ones you want to see him make right now.

  • Surprisingly, the Mavs’ backup group didn’t play their typical 2-3 defense at all tonight. Normally they live in the zone, but in this game they played a lot of man. Dallas has been trending more toward a switch-everything defense with its backup units, and although that wasn’t exactly what that group was doing, I wonder if as time goes on the club is going to stick more to man-to-man defense and move away from the zone. Something to watch going forward.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (17-36) will play the Los Angeles Clippers (26-25) on Monday at Staples Center at 9:30 p.m. Central.

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