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Mavs win preseason home opener over Hornets, 95-88

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It’s Seth Curry’s world, we’re all just living in it.

NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Hornets at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The third quarter of this game was glorious, so I’ll spend most of this recap talking about that. Don’t hold it against me, it’s only preseason, right?

Since it is preseason (and the second game at that), I suppose it’s too early to be drawing any serious conclusions just yet. On the other hand, Seth Curry is gonna be a superstar, right? I mean, he has looked great in both games. Surely I’m not overreacting in the least. Curry absolutely exploded in the third quarter tonight. Seth had 20 points and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes tonight. And while he didn’t have any assists, he looked mostly comfortable directing the offense.

In fact, there were a few minutes in the third quarter where Curry, Justin Anderson, and Nicolas Brussino were all on the court together, and the ball movement was, how do I put this.... all the fun. All of it. Those guys can all dribble, drive, pass, and shoot (mostly), and they all played off of each other pretty well.

Simba didn’t have a spectacular game (4-11, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists), but he looks so much different than he did this time last year. Mostly he just looks comfortable in his own skin. Comfortable with the offense. And most of all, aggressive. Looking forward to seeing him continue to grow this season.

And as long as I’m talking about Brussino, I’ll just say this. The few minutes he was in the game, he kinda looked like what we’re all hoping Harrison Barnes will be (on offense anyway). He was comfortable dribbling the ball, seemed to have a good idea of where he should be in the flow of the offense, had a couple of nice passes, and most of all, knocked down his open shots. I have no idea if Brussino will make the roster, but I really liked what I saw from him tonight.

Barnes, on the other hand... well, look. A lot of us have spent the months leading up to preseason cracking all kinds of Harrison Barnes jokes. I’m not here to do that. I’m sure he’s learning, I’m sure it will take a while to adjust to a new team, a new role, and new expectations. But the guy had as many fouls as points in this game (3 of each, if you were wondering). He shot 10% from the floor. It felt like every time he got the ball, he either stood there and waited to pass the ball back to J.J. Barea, or dribbled chaotically into a crowd for an odd-looking contested shot. It’s just preseason, and we’ve all got to calm down and take a long view when it comes to Barnes. But it was just not good tonight.

A few other happy thoughts from tonight:

  • Maybe Wes is back? Wes didn’t play in the first game, so tonight was our first look at the newly svelte Wesley Matthews. And he did not disappoint. In 17 minutes, he had 9 points on 4-6 shooting, to go with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. The most notable thing was how smooth and tricky he looked driving to the basket and throwing up floaters. Again, it’s one game, but **knocks heavily on wood everywhere** it really does look like Wes’s explosiveness may be back. He looked poised and confident, and silky smooth tonight.
  • Quincy Acy is everyone’s new favorite bench player. Acy is just fun. He brings so much energy and enthusiasm to the game, drawing charges, getting feisty with the other team’s bigs (he talked Roy Hibbert into drawing a technical IN PRESEASON). And he actually spaces the floor pretty well. He only hit 1 of 3 shots beyond the arc tonight, but I really like his form. He’s the do-everything gritty bench big that Mavs fans love to love. And he’s a Dallas kid.
  • AJ Hammons might actually challenge for some spot minutes on the big league roster. Okay, so barring injury maybe not, but I liked what I saw from Hammons tonight. He had 6 points and 9 rebounds in 20 minutes, including a forceful offensive rebound that he put back in for an almost gentle dunk. Something I didn’t know about Hammons is that he is apparently comfortable taking long jumpers. For a guy I was sure would spend all year with the Legends, I’m super curious if he can force his way into some minutes with the Mavs this season.
  • The Mavs might have legitimate (young) depth this year. Look back at all the guys about whom I had nice things to say. Only one of them is a starter. Simba, Barea, Curry, and Acy all look to be reliable contributors. Powell has more to show before I can add him to that list. And there were a few other guys like Brussino and Hammons who could show some sparks in limited roles, when called on. A lot depends on Barnes figuring out how he fits here in Dallas, but I kinda this I might like this year’s team. Here’s hoping for fun basketball all season.