Bucks vs. Mavericks
Wes Matthews scores 22 points, Zaza Pachulia adds 17 points as the Mavericks defeat the Bucks.
Final: Mavs 103, Bucks 93
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Rick Carlisle said the key to slowing down the Milwaukee offense is to keep the perimeter players out of the lane. Dallas was able to shut down the Bucks when keeping the ball out of the paint, allowing just 0.71 points per possession in those situations. However, we also saw why Carlisle was so fearful of the ball getting close to the rim, as Milwaukee scored 1.35 points per possession when the ball did get into the paint. Generally, there’s usually a pretty big gap between those two stats, but this one was more extreme than usual.
The Mavs scored 1.25 points per possession in the first half en route to 60 points. The biggest reason? Dallas turned it over zero times in the first two quarters and collected 5 offensive rebounds, leading to some very easy second chances. This offense has been in a groove lately, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch.
Here’s a good sign: Dirk Nowitzki was 3 of 15 from the field in this one. Before this game, he’d only had five games with at least 15 field goal attempts while shooting 20 percent or worse from the field, and Dallas was 1-4 in those games. The Mavs have been so reliant on Nowitzki over the years that the record shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, so it’s a very good sign that the club was still able to pull off a W even with an off night from the No. 6 scorer in league history.
The Mavs found themselves in yet another tight game, this time however seeing a lead slide away as opposed to clawing out of a deficit. Dallas has been terrific in the clutch this season, improving to 14-7 when clutch minutes are played — “clutch” is defined as the final five minutes of a game with the lead at five points or fewer either way. The club can attribute its success to savvy guard play, terrific shotmaking (like what we saw from Wesley Matthews late) and strong team defense when it matters most. That’s something that will help the Mavericks as the pressure heats up throughout the rest of the season in what’s sure to be a tight playoff race.
Chandler Parsons got the start for the Mavericks tonight, after essentially doing the same Saturday against Chicago, when he was inserted into the lineup less than two minutes into the game. The move immediately paid dividends as the Mavs had one of their better all-around first quarters of the season. The offense is just so much better when Parsons is highly involved — heading into this game, the Mavs were 7-2 in games when Parsons had at least 40 touches on the ball. It’s no guarantee, of course, that Dallas will continue playing .800 ball for the rest of the season with a healthy Parsons, but it’s a sign that the team is in good hands moving forward.
Parsons converted an alley-oop dunk on the fast break in the first half, a terrific sight for Mavs fans. The wing is becoming more and more confident in his athleticism as his recovery process from offseason knee surgery has continued, and he’s now dunking on a pretty regular basis. However, I can’t remember him throwing down an alley-oop since signing with the Mavs, although it was something he did in Houston fairly often. Either way, it wasn’t even the craziest fast break moment for Parsons on the night. In the third quarter, he took a foul going up for a layup and stumbled into the audience, where longtime Mavs front-row superfan Don Knobler tripped while trying to keep Parsons from doing the same, and both ended up on the ground. Both guys were fine, so it was a funny moment.
It was a “revenge” game for Zaza Pachulia tonight against his old team — “revenge” is in quotes because there are really no hard feelings between the two parties — and he came out of the gate looking motivated. Pachulia scored 7 early points and ended up with 17 for the game, more importantly just looking quicker and more aggressive than all of his opponents. Players always have a bit of a pep in their step when playing against their old team, so it was good to see Pachulia play with some extra steam in his already energetic style.
The Mavs (18-13) play the Golden State Warriors (28-1) Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.