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4 things we learned from the Mavs’ 112-107 loss to Phoenix

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This one wasn’t great.... but also wasn’t completely awful?

Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This game was tough to watch, in that the Mavs were really not playing well at times and in that the damn stream kept acting up. (Not to mention it’s a preseason game against a bad team at 9pm on a Friday night.)

But for those of us who made it through to the end, there were at least a few takeaways to ponder.

Deron Williams can be an offensive spark for this team.

The first half of the first quarter was the DWill show. He scored the team’s first 8 points. He kept them afloat until the offense woke up somewhere towards the middle of the corner.

He ended up the Mavs’ leading scorer in this game.

D-Will has had a year with the team, and I’m really excited to see how his control over the offense, and his pick and roll chemistry with Dirk, continue to develop this season.

Please stop with all the sloppiness

Look. There were a lot of turnovers tonight. Also more than a few dumb fouls committed. In the first half, Seth Curry was the poster boy for this, with 3 turnovers (most of them due to pure sloppiness) and 3 fouls (all of them unnecessary). But it wasn’t just Curry. Between the few stretches of fun that kept the game close, Dallas looked.... well, inept if I’m being honest.

It was maybe the worst at the start of the third quarter... and then again at the end of the third quarter. Dallas let Phoenix start the quarter 7-0 and end it 11-3. It never got entirely out of hand, but it looked really rough. This is the upside and downside of a young, promising bench. They’ll look like crap sometimes, but there’s also so much room to grow.

Confidence. The young ones have it.

Loved what I saw tonight from Justin Anderson and Dwight Powell. They both look just so much more solid and confident than last year. Which isn’t to say they don’t still slip up at times, but there’s just a different feeling seeing them work on the court so far this year. Simba especially had a great game. He had 13 points on 4-7 shooting, along with an assist, a rebound, a steal, and a block, all in only 16 minutes. Powell had 6 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal and a block—he was a real poor man’s Draymond tonight, also in only 16 minutes.

Seth Curry is also a part of this. Except he wasn’t nearly as effective tonight. He shares in the confidence of Simba and Powell, but he’s much more hit and miss with the production. There’s a battle coming between Barea, Harris, and Curry for those backup guard minutes. I’ll be really curious to see how that shakes out.

These last 2 spots are really up for grabs.

I will not lie here—I’m a Nick Brussino fan. But the last two spots have three obvious contenders at this point: Brussino, Jonathan Gibson, and Dorian Finney-Smith. And it’s close. At times, Brussino has seemed the most well-rounded, but tonight was really forgettable. Gibson is a scorer (he had 13 tonight), pure and simple, and he keeps doing that moderately well in garbage time. Finney-Smith may be the most intriguing, with a ton of all-around skills that aren’t necessarily that eye-catching.

One other thing I’ll point out. Several Suns starters kept playing in the 4th. Dallas played only the deep bench—players competing for spots (other than Hammons probably). And the kiddos hung pretty decently with Phoenix. They never really threatened to take the lead back, but they also didn’t get overwhelmed. All the credit to them for that.