Final: Hawks 98, Mavs 95

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

Rick Carlisle called timeout with the Mavs trailing 84-81 with 6:07 remaining in the game. The Mavs had missed 15 of their previous 17 three-point attempts, but that didn’t stop Carlisle from drawing up a nice play to get Wesley Matthews an open look from deep, which he sank. The Mavs score 0.927 points per possession after timeouts this season, the fifth-best mark in the NBA. Carlisle has an excellent reputation with the clipboard, and it reflects in the stats. That shot launched a 7-0 Dallas surge that helped the Mavs reclaim the lead.

The importance of pace was on full display in the first half. Dallas scored 1.08 points per possession when the ball crossed the halfcourt line on offense in three seconds or fewer (in 25 chances), a very solid rate. When it took longer than that, however, the Mavs scored just 0.76 points per possession in 21 chances. The Mavericks had only 2 fast break points in the first half, so it wasn’t like all of those points when the team played with pace came on breakaways or run-outs. The Mavs just put the ball in the hole more efficiently when the offense was moving up the floor quickly. It’s been that way all season, too.

Dallas put on an offensive rebounding clinic in the third quarter. Led by Zaza Pachulia (who finished with 6 for the game), the Mavs had 10 offensive boards in the third, so despite shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, the Mavs scored 1.217 points per possession. When a team gets an offensive rebound, it doesn’t count as a new possession. The opening play of the second half, for example, saw the Mavs grab four offensive rebounds before finally scoring. So even though Dallas was 1 of 5 from the field, it was scoring 2.0 points per possession. Not bad.


  • Wesley Matthews’ defensive versatility was on display in this one. The shooting guard was tasked with defending Paul Millsap, Atlanta’s starting power forward, whenever the two shared the floor. Rick Carlisle has praised Matthews all season long for his ability to guard multiple positions. He’s done a great job defending wings, but his strength allowing him to defend power forwards is perhaps his greatest defensive asset for this team. It allows Dirk Nowitzki to guard someone else on defense, letting him save his energy for the offensive end. Matthews isn’t going to win all of those battles, and Millsap even got the better of him a few times tonight, but that’s no knock against his own ability.

  • J.J. Barea returned to the rotation tonight after missing six games with a sprained ankle. It took him only a few minutes to make an impact, as the Puerto Rican point guard drew two offensive fouls on Atlanta reserve Dennis Schroder in the second quarter alone. What he lacks in size and athleticism he makes up for with pesky, scrappy play. He certainly got under Schroder’s skin, and the German Hawk isn’t the first to succumb to it.

  • This was Atlanta’s first game since Friday. You rarely see a break as long as that one in the middle of the NBA season, especially during the first 20-25 games. The Hawks didn’t necessarily come out lethargic in the first quarter, but they did commit 7 turnovers in the game’s first 15 minutes. Credit the Mavericks for forcing Atlanta into simple mistakes, perhaps due to a bit of rust. The aforementioned Barea drawn offensive fouls fall under that category.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (13-10) play the Washington Wizards (9-11) Saturday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.

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