The Fast Break: Mavs at Pelicans

Final: Mavs 128, Pelicans 120

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

This was the 1,400th start of Dirk Nowitzki’s career. Per Basketball-Reference, he’s third all-time in games started behind only Kevin Garnett (1,425) and Karl Malone (1,471).

The Mavericks scored 36 points in the first quarter, tied for their second-highest scoring opening quarter of the season. Dallas led by 15 points after one, which also was the club’s second-biggest advantage after the first frame of the season.

Dallas reached the 100-point plateau in the third quarter for just the ninth time in the Rick Carlisle Era, which dates back to the beginning of the 2008-09 season.

The Mavs sank a franchise-record 22 3-pointers in this one.

Notebook

  • At 20 years and 34 days old, Dennis Smith Jr. became the youngest Maverick and third-youngest NBA player ever to record a triple-double, amassing 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. The two players younger (both by a matter of weeks) were Lonzo Ball and LeBron James. The previous youngest Maverick to record a triple-double was Jason Kidd at 22 years, 13 days old. He was sensational in this game.

  • Dennis Smith Jr. had a terrific first quarter a couple games ago against Toronto, and he pieced together another productive one tonight. Like that Dec. 26 tilt, Smith was once again the driving force of a quick start for the Mavs’ offense, sparking several fast breaks that led to easy buckets like this one.

    He handed out four assists total in the quarter and also recorded five rebounds.

    Most impressively, his 3-point shot was falling. Once he found a groove and established a rhythm, you could see the confidence oozing out of him. This was particularly nice.

    When you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. That isn’t a shot you want to see Smith taking 10 times a night by any means, but he was on fire and felt good, and he made it. Smith hit a career-high-tying five treys in this one, so he deserved the freedom to let ’em fly. This is another one of those games that really gets you excited about his future in this league.

  • About that first half… The Mavs scored 77 points, tied for their highest-scoring first half in a regular-season game since Dec. 2, 2009. During that opening blitzkrieg, Dallas shot 69.0 percent from the field and 72.2 percent from the 3-point line, knocking down 13 treys. Dennis Smith Jr. led the way with 13 points and eight assists in the first two quarters alone — but the club might have scored even more had he not turned it over six times. Such is life for a first-year pro. Anyway, in those first two quarters both Wesley Matthews and Devin Harris each knocked down four 3-pointers. Bench players combined to shoot 12 of 16 from the field. Dallas recorded 17 assists. At one point, the Mavericks combined to hit 11 straight shots from the field. It was just the sixth time in franchise history the team scored at least 77 points in the first half. It was an astonishing display of offense, and it came against a Pelicans team that had won three straight and was playing good basketball as of late. It’s difficult to capture that much magic for an entire half, but the Mavericks did it. And, my, was it fun to watch.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (12-25) will play the Oklahoma City Thunder (20-15) on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena at 6 p.m. Central.