Final: Mavs 118, Bulls 111
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
In a glimpse of what could be a heavy-usage lineup for the Mavs as long as Deron Williams is out, the five-man unit of J.J. Barea, Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Zaza Pachulia was +16 through three quarters, and the Mavs had a 1-point lead. The positive part is great, of course, but the downside is that means the Mavs’ other lineups got outplayed by the Bulls. You’ve got to think that the other lineups will raise their level of play moving forward, so if the Mavs can keep that five-man group’s synergy as high as it is, we could see some positive results.
The Mavs scored better than 1.4 points per possession in both the first and third quarters. Considering the league average usually hovers somewhere between 1.02 and 1.04, that’s some incredible offensive efficiency, made possible in part by the Mavs taking care of the ball. Dallas turned it over just five times combined in the two frames. The club also collected 10 offensive rebounds in the third quarter alone.
The Mavs gave up zero points on catastrophic fast breaks, a stat the club characterizes as a 1-on-0, 3-on-1, or a similarly daunting situation. That means Dallas was able to take care of the ball and, even when the offense turned it over, it wasn’t in such a bad way that it launched an easy scoring chance the other way for Chicago. That played a huge role in the victory, especially given how close the final score was, in one of the best games we’ve seen this season.
With 10.6 seconds left in the game and the Mavs up 3, Chicago was inbounding the ball to get a chance at the tie. However, Derrick Rose couldn’t inbound the ball in time, resulting in a rare 5-second violation to give the Mavs the ball back with a chance to ice it. The Bulls also had wonky turnovers to end both the second and third quarters which led to Dallas baskets the other way. In a close game like this one, all of those little mistakes add up to be huge. Good on the Mavs for taking advantage of all of those extra opportunities.
Devin Harris played his first game after missing several due to injury, and he made so many Harris-esque plays that we typically take for granted. Whether it’s stealing the ball with only a couple seconds left in a quarter, attacking the basket when it doesn’t seem like a driving lane is there, or drawing a foul while shooting a three-pointer, the veteran guard just makes so many small contributions to the game that, by the time it’s all over, you barely even realize what a huge impact he made.
After scoring a career-high 32 points against Brooklyn, J.J. Barea came out shooting it well again tonight, hitting his first seven three-point attempts of the game before finally missing one in the fourth quarter. The record for most treys by a Maverick in a game without a miss is eight, set by Michael Finley in March 2005. Not known for his long-range shooting, anything the Mavs get from Barea beyond the arc is a huge bonus. If he keeps shooting it like this, it’ll be hard to keep him out of games. The Puerto Rican has now had back-to-back 25-plus-point games for the first time in his career, according to Basketball-Reference.
This was the Mavs’ fourth consecutive game with at least 20 assists. Parsons played a huge role in that, as his penetration and ball movement propelled the offense out of a few dry spells early in the game. When he gets his facilitating game going, the Dallas offense takes a huge step forward. Hopefully now that his minutes have almost reached his usual average, he can begin assuming more playmaking responsibility moving forward.
With Deron Williams out due to injury, the Mavs went with the same starting lineup as the one in Brooklyn, with Barea and Felton at the backcourt and Matthews, Nowitzki, and Pachulia in the frontcourt. However, the Bulls had a significant size advantage as a result, so the Mavs quickly countered by bringing in Parsons less than two minutes into the game. The small forward, who’s been playing sixth man for weeks now, began the second half on the floor as well. It will be interesting to see how soon he returns back to the starting lineup on a full-time basis. This could perhaps be a preview of what’s to come on Monday, but the Mavs take these things one game at a time.
The Mavs (17-13) play the Milwaukee Bucks (12-19) Monday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.