Final: Mavs 113, Wizards 105
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs shot only 43.5 percent from the field in the second quarter, but 12 free throw attempts kept the offense producing points. Dallas is one of the bottom teams in the league when it comes to creating trips to the line, but Harrison Barnes has been getting better at drawing fouls, and the rest of the Mavs in this one were aggressive attacking the basket, too. The Mavericks scored 1.1 points per possession in the frame. If you do that every quarter, you’re in good shape.
Harrison Barnes tied his career-high with five assists. That might not seem like too impressive a number, but it’s important to remember, as always, that Barnes was playing such a minor role for the Warriors in his first four seasons so he never really had the ball in his hands in a position to make plays for his teammates. Meanwhile in Dallas, Barnes hasn’t yet been much of a facilitator, either, especially when playing in isolation. But tonight Barnes was looking to move the ball to spot-up guys all night long, and he did it with nice efficiency, too, turning the ball over only twice.
The Mavs have said the young guys must be more consistent, and they’re right. But tonight we saw the young guys produce. Harrison Barnes had his 19th 20-point game as a Maverick, Seth Curry was huge off the bench, and Dorian Finney-Smith started over Andrew Bogut. Dallas has a much friendlier schedule to begin 2017 than it faced in 2016, both in terms of travel and quality of opponent. The club knows it must take advantage of that fact now if it has any chance of making the playoffs, and tonight was the first step in that journey.
Devin Harris had what was easily his best game of the season, and one of his best since rejoining the Mavericks, frankly. The guard finished with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including hitting four of his seven 3-point attempts. He dazzled to end the first quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and long 2-pointer in about 30 seconds to end the quarter strong for Dallas. So much of what Harris does for this team can go unappreciated or unnoticed at times because his numbers are rarely ever gaudy, but he brings such a dynamic presence on both ends when he’s in the game. He’s the speediest Maverick and he can wreak havoc defensively by playing passing lanes and taking charges. It’s good to see him have such a big game.
In addition to Harris, the rest of the Mavs’ bench was productive, as well. Seth Curry scored 16 points and Dwight Powell added eight, while Andrew Bogut — coming off the bench for the first time as a Maverick — brought his usual brand of defense and rebounding into the mix. A lot has been changing constantly all season long for the Mavericks, but if the bench can continue to produce at this kind of level, or anywhere near it, the Mavs are going to be in solid shape moving forward in January.
John Wall is a stunning talent. The Wizards point guard almost singlehandedly launched a 20-3 blitz to end the first half, even scoring the team’s final 13 points himself. In the process, he also forced three Deron Williams turnovers in a minute. Wall is possibly the fastest player in the NBA, and he reaches his top speed in one step. On the final play of the third quarter, he took an inbound pass at midcourt and got all the way to the rim for a layup in less than four seconds, driving past at least three Mavericks in the process. It really is something to watch him play in-person.
The Mavs (11-24) play the Phoenix Suns (10-24) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.