The Mavs visited the Clippers for a Saturday afternoon exhibition and things got a bit ugly. Dallas fell 120-100 despite a 25 point effort from Dirk Nowitzki and a 20 point effort from Monta Ellis.
Besides a pretty Dirk bank shot over Matt Barnes, the Mavs looked like they were still waking up from their afternoon nap in the early portion of the first quarter. DeAndre Jordan dominated the boards against a lethargic looking Dirk. Matt Barnes was ultra aggressive throughout the first half and outplayed Chandler Parsons. Small forward is the one position where the Mavs can't afford to be out performed when playing the Clippers.
Even though the Clippers have a strong starting 5, their bench unit leaves a lot to be desired. The Mavs didn't exploit their matchups enough when Farmar, Bullock and Hawes were on the court. There was a sequence where Rondo missed a layup and Dirk missed a wide open and they both resulted in an easy runout for DeAndre Jordan. It may seem like an innocuous sequence, but that's a nine-point swing in a game where every point counts.
Late in the first quarter a wonderful sequence occurred that confirmed my faith in the universe: Matt Barnes missed a huge dunk and then Devin Harris threw down a vicious dunk. I believe that's Devin Harris' first dunk since the Bush administration.
Midway through the second quarter, Joey Crawford suffered a knee injury and didn't return to the game. Without Crawford, there were only two referees left to officiate the remainder of the game.
The entire complexion of the game changed with about two minutes left in the first half. With the game tied, double technicals were called on Rajon Rondo and Matt Barnes. The Clippers finished the first half on an 8-0 run and quickly built their lead to 20 early in the third quarter. Carlisle pulled Rondo early in the third when the offense ran stagnant. Rondo really struggled with his finishing around the rim shooting a meager 1-11 from the field.
After receiving a tech in the first half, Rick Carlisle was hit with a second tech and ejected in the third quarter. It didn't appear that Carlisle said anything inflammatory to the ref, but finishing the game in the locker room was probably better for Carlisle's blood pressure.
From the opening tip, the Clippers played with a purpose that the Mavericks clearly lacked. The Mavs are clearly still adjusting to the Rondo trade, but their effort has nothing to do with the tactical adjustments. Going back to the Parsons-Barnes matchup, Barnes outworked Parsons the entire game. Barnes caused havoc on both ends and got several key offensive rebounds. The Mavs need Parsons to bring this same level of intensity on a nightly basis.
After the Carlisle ejection, the Mavs could only whittle down the lead to 11 before it would ballon back up over 20.
This loss puts the Mavs at 1-8 against the top eight teams in the West and is only the third time they've lost back-to-back games. Their next game will be on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.
- Blake Griffin flaunted his much improved jumper shooting 8-11 outside of the lane.
- Dwight Powell came hit two threes in garbage time. He won't see any significant playing time this season, but he showed why he could be a backup for Dirk in the future.
- It was nice to see Dirk finish the game shooting 10-19 after a 3-10 start. Dirk has really struggled with his jumper over the last six weeks as Josh points out:
In his last 15 games, Dirk is shooting 36.3 percent from 8-16 feet. He shot 49.8 percent there last year, for reference.— Josh Bowe (@Boweman55) January 10, 2015