Final: Mavs 107, Bulls 82
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs scored 57 points in the first half of this game, making it their second highest-scoring opening act this season, topped only by the 58 they scored in L.A. on Nov. 8. Dallas was simply scorching in the first half, shooting 44.7 percent from the field and, more importantly, knocking down 10 free throws in 13 tries.
When the four-man combination of Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Harrison Barnes played with either Andrew Bogut or Dwight Powell tonight, the Mavericks were +27, per team analytics. Leading the way individually was Barnes, at +32.
The thing that stood out most about tonight’s game was the Mavericks acted as the enforcer from the opening tip. Dallas controlled the tempo for the entire game and looked to be the more energetic side all night long, aided no doubt by the fact that the Bulls were on the second half of a back-to-back, after beating the Cavs last night. But Dallas did exactly what a rested home team is supposed to do against a weary road team, by pushing the ball and moving it a ton in the halfcourt. The Mavs finished with a season-high 31 assists as a team, a pretty good indication of just how much the ball was flying around the floor. The Mavs found their groove early and never lost it.
This was a big game for season- and career-highs. Andrew Bogut scored a season-high eight points, Deron Williams notched a season-high 15 assists, Wesley Matthews hit a season-topping seven 3s, Dwight Powell scored a career-best 17 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith set a career-high with 11. This was one of those nights when everything just seemed to click for the offense, which is something the Mavericks have desperately needed for some time. This team’s defensive aptitude has never really been in question, but the shotmaking just hasn’t been there for too many games.
I’m running out of different ways to say that Wesley Matthews has been awesome lately, so this time I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves. He’s now scored at least 18 points in five of his last seven games, after doing it just twice all season before this. He’s hit five 3s in three of his last four games, and at least three treys in six of his last eight. He’s absolutely been on fire. Let’s hope he can keep this streak up for a while.
Finney-Smith has the chance to be a really good, productive player in this league. His stat line will rarely impress you, and he doesn’t make too many highlight plays, but he’s always in the right spot, he always makes the right decision, and he’s consistently very good on the defensive end. Those are impressive traits for an undrafted rookie to possess. All the praise heaped onto him by the Mavs coaches is neither unwarranted nor unnecessary. He’s deserved every compliment he’s been given. It’s been so much fun to watch him play this season.
The Mavs (4-15) play the Charlotte Hornets (11-8) on Monday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.