With Deron Williams out of the lineup, JJ Barea and Raymond Felton ran the offense to perfection. The Mavericks recorded a season-low four turnovers en route to victory. For most of the evening, Dallas played with a comfortable lead. But as the Mavs are wont to do, they relaxed in the fourth quarter and allowed the Bucks to make a late push. Matthews closed the door on that push with a couple late threes. He scored 22 points on 6-10 shooting in one of his best games of the season.
Thus spake Zaza Pachulia
The 13-year center from Georgia administered a healthy dose of revenge to his former ball club. Pachulia's peculiar combination of guile and strength presented issues for the Bucks frontline all evening. Greg Monroe, the shiny new toy that replaced Zaza in Milwaukee, struggled to find a rhythm. Zaza forced Monroe off spots and made his possessions in the post quite unpleasant. Zaza's defensive energy transitioned into offensive success. The lumbering giant put up 17 points with his usual combination of putbacks and tricky floaters. Watching Pachulia find offensive success is always a treat, because the team really feeds off of his energy.
The ball has energy
After a disastrous start to the season, the Mavericks have really found their stroke from beyond the arc. Dallas hit a smooth 10-22 from three-point land, but the process behind the makes was the encouraging behavior. The current version of Carlisle's motion offense is poetic when Dallas hits shots. The full version of Chandler Parsons has unlocked beautiful intracacies in Carlisle's offense. HIs ability to get in the lane, both off dribble penetration and off-ball cuts, was the catalyst for many beautiful ball movement sequences. This Maverick roster is filled with guys who both know and are willing to make the right pass. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
This is just smart basketball https://t.co/k8mClggb34— Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace) December 29, 2015
No Dirk no problem
The sixth leading scorer of all-time had his worst shooting performance of the season. Nowitzki shot a putrid 3-15 from the field including 1-7 on threes. He moved well, but never found his rhythm. It was the rare game where Dirk forced a few shots. However, Dirk's poor shooting night did not sink the offense. It's encouraging to see this team carry their superstar instead of the other way around. Down the stretch, when the Mavericks needed some shot making, Parsons, Felton and Matthews carried the load while Nowitzki played as a decoy. It was a small glimpse at the potency of the Parsons-Matthews duo. Soon enough, this offense will click on all cylinders and that will be quite a sight to behold.