Final: Blazers 105, Mavs 95
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Seth Curry was +22 tonight through three quarters, per Mavs analytics. Dallas trailed by three, 79-76, at the end of the third frame. Good things happened tonight when Curry was on the floor. It’s good to see him settling into a role.
Injuries and circumstances forced the Mavs to tinker with new lineup combinations tonight. One group in particular was pretty interesting: Justin Anderson, Quincy Acy, and Salah Mejri together in the frontcourt for the first time this season. The Mavs were even in the game when that trio played, per Mavs analytics. That’s a pretty mean, aggressive group of guys, especially on the defensive end. I think it’s one the Mavs might turn to again in gritty games when they need stops.
Final score aside, there were plenty of positives for the Mavs to build on in this one, particularly with the defensive effort in the second half. The Mavericks seemed to rally on that side of the ball, especially when the second unit was in the game, and the hope is that can translate over to future games, like the one on Sunday against Milwaukee. Offensively, Dallas was able to find a rhythm for long stretches of the game, generally avoiding awkward possessions that lasted well into the shot clock. Obviously the result isn’t what you or the team hoped for, but you’re beginning to see seeds of what this team can become sooner than later. Everything was better tonight than it was Wednesday against Utah, but Damian Lillard just had a huge, huge offensive night, and sometimes when that happens you kind of just have to tip your hat to your opponent and move on. He hit two 35-footers and the Blazers hit another buzzer-beater to end the first quarter. Stuff like that is just out of your control. But tonight the Mavericks were much better at the things they could control.
The Mavs used a 13-0 run in the first quarter to turn an eight-point deficit into a five-point advantage. It might seem obvious to say this, but every good Mavs run this season has started with making stops and positive defensive plays, be it forcing either misses or turnovers. Dallas has been very good at turning stops into points, but where the club runs into problems offensively is when the defense has let-downs. Rick Carlisle frequently talks about not letting the offense affect the defense, but if the stops keep coming, the offense will be just fine.
Dirk Nowitzki left the game after the first half with Achilles soreness and did not return. His status for Sunday is at this time unknown, but he’s been dealing with the soreness all season. Andrew Bogut missed the game for personal reasons. That left the Mavs short-handed in the front court in the second half, so Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri were forced to absorb all of the center minutes.
The Mavs (0-5) play the Milwaukee Bucks (3-2) on Sunday at American Airlines Center at 6 p.m. Central.