The Mavericks aren't totally dead! Sure, they had to claw out a win against the corpse of the New Orleans Pelicans, but in the Mavs' current state, every win is a vital. No take-backsies.
Here's some things from tonight:
DWIGHT POWELL IS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR
Can't believe the Mavs only had to give away a first rounder, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and Jameer Nelson for Dwight Powell
The Mavericks slogged their way through pretty much most of the minutes Powell wasn't on the floor. When he was? They were go-go-go-go, high energy, snapping necks and cashin' checks. Powell finished with a career-high 15 points, chipped in seven rebounds and got into Anthony Davis' head, driving past him off the dribble for another layup and what is even happening anymore.
Powell still has his issues (he boinked a point blank layup in the first half) but sweet jeebus he's been an absolute difference maker in the Mavs first six games, providing some good rim running and good boarding. Zaza Pachulia doesn't provide much in the terms of sucking in a defense on pick and rolls, so Powell's ability to set hard screens and crash down the middle of the floor has been a godsend. Clowning Anthony Davis? That's just delightful.
Dirk falls and rises
There was a really weird moment in the second quarter where Dirk missed, like, all of his shots. I got PTSD flashbacks to December of 2014. It was bad.
Then the second half started and Dirk started Dirking and before you knew it he climbed out of the pit again.
It was good to see Dirk recover from what looked to be a disastrous shooting night. He got into a groove in the post and certainly had more post touches tonight than usual for twilight-Dirk. Old-man Dirk has mainly been a pick-and-pop, spot-up machine, but tonight we got a little of prime-post up angry Dirk. It was great to see him produce out of those post ups. It was great to see him produce. It was great to see another great Dirk night.
Deron Williams didn't fart and fall down in the clutch
Dwight Powell can't play 48 minutes every night because of science or health or limits of the human body or some bullshit so the Mavs properly started to poop the bed a bit when Powell left the game for good with about fiveish minutes left in the fourth quarter. Dallas couldn't get any buckets, New Orleans got it down to six points after Powell propelled them to a double-digit lead and everything sucked.
So when Anthony Davis purchased a vacation house in Dirk's jersey in the clutch, it was nice that Deron Williams was able to create. Williams controlled the offense in the final three minutes, produced a couple big buckets and made sure the Mavs didn't fart away the game. It's weird to think about, but Monta Ellis was the dude the Mavs gave the ball too in those moments last year (remember, old-man Dirk is mainly spot up, pick and popper now) so there was always this weird awkward silence whenever the Mavs entered clutch situations this season. Good on Williams for not letting this game end the way the Raptors game did. He finished with 19 points and three 3-pointers.
The Mavericks have a pulse
Let's not get carried away -- this was a winless Pelicans team missing SIX ROTATION PLAYERS on the second night of a back to back. The Mavericks didn't exactly light up the hottest team in the league. BUT this was better than the alternative: a soul-questioning loss. The Mavericks did what they were supposed to do. Considering their handicaps for the time being, that's a thing to semi-celebrate. As long as Wes Matthews is on a minutes restriction, Chandler Parsons can only play one half and JaVale McGee is considered a key piece awaiting return to full health *throws up in trash can* we can't really complain about any Mavericks win. This team is still learning to play together and still getting healthy. This will do.