Final: Nets 109, Mavs 104
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Harrison Barnes dished out a career-high six assists in this one, one game after handing out a season-high four on Monday night in San Antonio. (In fact, his previous season-high was three, which he tied the game before that against Oklahoma City. Facilitating has become such an important skill for wing players to develop, and Barnes appears to be on track to adding that dimension to his game on a more consistent basis.
What a first quarter for Maxi Kleber, who recorded career-highs in both points and rebounds before he even subbed out of the game for the first time. The rookie scored 12 points and grabbed six boards in the opening frame on 5-of-7 shooting, including knocking down two 3-pointers. He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Kleber brings an interesting dynamic to the starting lineup because he’s able to play center on defense but any position 3-5 on offense. Usually that opens things up for the other scorers, but tonight he opened things up for himself.
This is going to be a really important shot for Dennis Smith Jr. to develop.
As Rick Carlisle said before the game, there are simply too many super-long, super-athletic big men in the league, guys Smith simply can’t afford to try leaping over time after time. That little floater is the great equalizer because it’s almost impossible for a center to anticipate defending a layup and instead adjust to contest that floater without fouling. So not only will it help him to avoid nasty mid-air collisions with giants, but it’ll also give him relatively clean looks close to the rim.
Watching the Brooklyn Nets is like watching a science experiment. They play traditional centers in terms of size, but all of their players can shoot 3s and they all can put the ball on the floor. Nearly every single point the Nets scored in this game came either in the paint, from beyond the 3-point line, or at the free throw line. Many will tell you that’s the future of basketball. I’m not sure that will ever totally become the norm because mid-range pull-ups are becoming a little more common among some pick-and-roll point guards due to defensive coverages. But you’re going to see more and more games where players will opt for step-back 3s instead of straight up-and-down 20-foot long 2s, and by the end of the game some stats might appear a little wonky. It’s the more mathematically efficient way to play, and if nothing else it’s very interesting to watch.
The Mavs (5-17) will play the Los Angeles Clippers (8-11) on Saturday at American Airlines Center at 1 p.m. Central.