Final: Mavs 112, Nuggets 92
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
In the first half, Dallas scored 51 of its 65 points on possessions when the ball entered the lane via drive or pass. Those 51 points came on just 27 possessions, per Mavs analytics. That is an absurdly high rate to score the ball — nearly two points per possession — for a single half of play. The Mavs simply got whatever they wanted on the inside all night long.
The Mavs have now won three of their last five home games. This team is starting to show the ability to enforce its will quickly against road teams, and that’s something that could easily help them rack up some wins. Things are about to get much more road-heavy for Dallas, but the Mavs have home games on Wednesday against Detroit and Sunday against Sacramento. The hope is they can continue their excellent home play, and then carry that forward into the long road trip to the West Coast later this month.
The Mavericks enforced their will tonight. More importantly, however, they demonstrated they have the ability to bounce back after tough losses. The Mavs have now won four straight games following a double-digit loss. Obviously you don’t want to lose by double-digits (or in general), but it says something about the character of this team that Dallas has been able to rebound so well after getting beat bad in the previous contest. Credit the veterans for that.
Dorian Finney-Smith was active from the opening tip tonight, and that really set the tone for how the Mavs defended the Nuggets all night. This was Denver’s final stop on a six-game road trip, and the club clearly had some weary legs, so it was important for the Mavericks to come out as the more aggressive side. Finney-Smith had two steals and a block in the first quarter alone, and he also finished with a career-high 13 points. He truly seems to be getting better every game, and that has to get you excited as a fan. This guy went from undrafted to starter to impact player in one month. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen anything like this happen in Dallas.
Salah Mejri was an unstoppable force on the defensive end tonight. He had three blocks in the first quarter alone, and finished the game with four, contesting a handful more. As a team they swatted seven shots tonight, one off their season-best mark. Mejri plays with a ton of attitude and swagger, and that makes him one of the most exciting big men we’ve seen around here in a while. After his fourth block, he stared down his own bench and pointed at A.J. Hammons for a looong time before running back up the court. He also juggled the basketball like a soccer ball on more than one occasion, obviously when play was stopped. Mejri never fails to entertain. In short, he’s why we watch.
In tonight’s installment of “Wesley Matthews Is Really Good,” the 30-year-old wing scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including five made 3-pointers in seven attempts. It was his third-straight game cracking the 25-point mark. This was also Matthews’ seventh game this season with at least five made 3-pointers, which ties with O.J. Mayo (2012-13) for third-most in a season in franchise history. Matthews himself had nine such games last season, while the record is currently held by George McCloud, who had 20 such games in the long-range bonanza that was the 1995-96 season. Matthews could very well surpass that mark this season if he continues to shoot the ball the way he has. He came into tonight fourth in the league in 3-pointers made, and that’s even taking his slow start into consideration.
The Mavs (6-18) play the Detroit Pistons (13-13) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.