If you're reading this, it's too late. The Mavericks lost their home opener to their Canadian brethren 102-91. Dirk Nowitzki, once again, led the Mavericks with 18 points and 7 rebounds. The game was an offensive track meet for the first three quarters, but Toronto's defense smothered the Mavericks down the stretch.
The Dwight Powell trade has been a rousing success. In just four games, Powell has turned the Rondo era into a hazy memory from that semester of college when you decided to experiment. The second round pick from Stanford anchored the bench unit with his aggressive play on both ends. Powell balanced his rebounding with a feathery touch from the mid-range area all evening. He even mustered up the confidence for a heat check jumper. However, Powell leaves some meat on the bone with his finishing around the rim. He will have to learn when to power through defenders for a dunk and when to finesse a layup.
18 years into his storied career, Dirk Nowitzki can still leave the American Airlines Center breathless. The Big German continued his blistering start to the season with 18 points on just 10 shots. You know Dirk is feeling good when he dunks and hits a corner three in back-to-back games. Nowitzki hit only four corner threes last season, but he managed to knock down a jumper from the most efficient spot on the floor. Dirk had the full repertoire going against Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson tonight. The Mavericks moved the ball beautifully tonight, but they could have benefited from force feeding Dirk a bit more. Even though Nowitzki didn't get a bunch of looks in the second half, he really battled on the boards. He was fired up on both ends, which is incredible for a 37-year old power forward. Never leave us, Dirk.
Kyle Lowry absolutely obliterated the Mavericks all evening. Lowry lost a ton of weight over the offseason and he used that newfound quickness to compromise the Mavs defense all night. The Raptors struggled to generate good looks from the perimeter, but Lowry was there to pick up the slack time and time again. He was a constant thorn in the Mavericks side with his timely shotmaking.
This was the first crunch time experience for the Mavericks without Monta Ellis and the all he possessed. They struggled to generate good looks without their former crunch time savant. Chandler Parsons will eventually be burdened with this role, but he won't get that opportunity for quite some time. Until then, the crunch time responsibilities should fall onto the shoulders of the seventh leading scorer of all-time. However every Maverick guard did a poor job of finding Dirk in his spots in the fourth quarter. The Big German entered the fourth quarter shooting 5-6 from the field, but he spent most of the fourth quarter as a decoy. If Dallas wants to pull out these close games, they will have to rally around Nowitzki.