In the Mavericks' third preseason game, we saw the starting lineup as complete as it has been so far with Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut both playing for the first time, and only Dirk Nowitzki missing. Still, there were at least three or four times during the first half that the thought, "I can’t even watch this anymore," flashed through my head. The Mavericks looked awful on offense, scoring only 32 points on 28 percent shooting with 12 turnovers.
In the second half, the Mavericks settled things down and had a much more fluid offense. Seth Curry got the starting nod and looked really comfortable running the point with Williams sitting on the bench for the second half, finishing with 11 points on 11 shots (one of only two Mavericks with double figures). This was likely a premeditated decision from Rick Carlisle as he eases Deron back, but it was good to see that he can rely on Curry for longer stretches. Carlisle gave mostly all of the playing time of the fourth quarter to the young fringe guys that battling for a spot with the Mavs, as he has been doing.
The Bucks are an incredibly long and athletic team, so the Mavs did struggle to keep up at times, however they actually did a really good job battling for boards outrebounding the young Bucks 50-47. Dallas has seemingly always struggled in this department, but perhaps this could be a change with more athleticism at the wings and some better rebounding ability at the center spot.
Three things from tonight's loss.
Dwight Powell was a shining star
Powell's play against the Bucks showed us that he might have progressed from the player we saw last season, who would only give us flashes of promise here and there. He finished with a Mavs-high 15 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes, and while he had some classic Powell-like sporadic moments, overall Powell was consistent without a turnover. He must do this on a nightly basis to solidify that backup role behind Dirk and Bogut.
Bogut is really involved in the offense
In his short playing time, we saw Bogut touch the ball on almost every offensive possession and pick up a couple assists. Rick has a real asset to play with here and gave us an idea of what sort of role we will see him have in the coming season. His ability to set screens and pass the ball was on display and will only get more lethal as the team plays longer together and the proper rotations are refined. He didn't score, but that's not necessarily a huge concern for the role he'll play.
Harrison Barnes, man…
Barnes started with two or three really athletic plays that made me think that this game could be the one that Barnes really shows us what he can do as the go-to guy. Unfortunately, this was not that game – in just under 20 minutes, Barnes had only six points on 3-of-13, 23 percent shooting (0-of-3 on threes) and seven rebounds. He made some questionable shooting decisions, in one instance turning down an easy shot only take a tougher one with a dribble and spin move before missing horribly. Barnes will have a breakout game sooner or later, but his opening three haven't been too impressive.
Yes, it is only a preseason game, so we will hopefully see the obvious concerns addressed in time before the season officially gets underway in a little under three weeks.