On a night when vitriol and sports hate were to reign supreme, a more noble cause trumped the two: good basketball. The Mavericks, after laying an enormous egg in the Pelicans' nest the night before, played with a focused anger en route to an impressive victory against the vaunted Los Angeles Clippers. The ageless Dirk Nowitzki poured gasoline on the Clippers and flicked a cigarette in their general vicinity with 31 points on a meager 14 shots. Even more encouraging, Wesley Matthews played his best game as a Maverick with 25 points.
DeAndre's first appearance in the American Airlines Center since his infamous decision was rather unremarkable. He scored only 9 points and was a -16 on the evening. Down the stretch, Jordan watched from the bench after flunking the hack-a-DeAndre test. As the clock winded down to zero, "DeAndre sucks" reverberated throughout the AAC. It's safe to say, his first experience in Dallas since the decision was a miserable one.
Never leave us Dirk
Even in his 18th season, Dirk Nowitzki has the ability to leave the basketball world breathless. The big German has played down the DeAndre decision since July, but his demeanor against the Clippers told a different story. You can always tell when Dirk ramps it up for a regular season game and tonight, he did just that. His eclectic post game was on full display from the tip. Each and every Clippers defender got their turn in the Dirk torture chamber. He had an especially delicious contested three-pointer right in Jordan's grill. There's not a sweeter joy in this world than when Nowitzki gears it up for a vintage performance.
Wesley Matthews just may be what we hoped
When the Mavericks signed Wes Matthews to a $70 million contract this is exactly what they had for him in mind. Matthews found his rhythm early with a series of post ups in the first quarter. J.J. Redick was no match for the burly Matthews on the block. The early postups were a an appetizer for Matthews pretty floor game all evening. Matthews has been used primarily as a spot up guy thus far through the season, but tonight he flourished from the mid range area working primarily as a pick and roll ball handler. If Matthews can regain his consistency from the mid range area, the Mavericks might have their $70 million man sooner rather than later.
The rookie gets a chance
Justin Anderson made his first meaningful impact in a game this season. The game has looked too fast for the rookie during his few minutes this season, but Anderson played with poise during his time on the court. In the first half, Anderson logged some productive minutes playing alongside Dirk and Dwight Powell. He scored a modest seven points, but that doesn't reflect the patience and composure he played with. The game ended on with an exclamation point when Anderson pinned a Lance Stephenson layup against the backboard. Rick Carlisle might be forced to play the rookie a bit more.