Basketball seemed fun again after a pretty lousy couple of weeks for the Mavs, who finally snapped a losing streak at 8 games tonight. The Mavs (91) beat the Pelicans (81) even with Anthony Davis pouring in 36 points and 13 rebounds.
The Mavericks did all the right things to win this game and gave us something to be happy about for the first time in what seems like forever. Winning the rebounding battle was always going to be important against the Pelicans and they did just that, out-rebounding them 46-42 and came up with some crucial offensive boards late in the fourth.
After putting up some pretty dismal shooting numbers the last month, the Mavs got their act together and shot 41.6 percent from the field (37 percent from 3) and also got to the line 20 times shooting 85 percent. This team looked aggressive, and looked really composed in the fourth when it counted.
Here are three things we learned from tonight’s game.
Wesley Matthews is back
The Iron Man was putting up horrendous numbers earlier in the season, but in the last 7 games, Wes has seemingly found his shot. Matthews gave the Mavs excellent defense for 39 minutes and also put in 21 points and 3 rebound with a game high +20.
Matthews shot 6-8 from down town and caught fire at the right time in the fourth quarter when it looked as if the Pelicans were starting to run away with the game. Watching Barnes and Matthews play like this together is really encouraging as they will be a dynamic wing combo for the Mavs future.
Justin Anderson can be a difference maker
Anderson’s season has been a little disappointing after so many thought he would make a leap, and become a pivotal piece to the Mavericks squad. When he plays bad, it really shows and hurts the team on both ends of the floor, but when he plays like he did tonight with 14 points and eight rebounds, it helps the Mavs immensely and gives the bench a real boost.
We still saw some questionable decisions from Anderson, but he was mostly consistent tonight and showed that when he’s able to hit his shots he’s a valuable player in the rotation.
Andrew Bogut needs more games like this
There have been a bunch of times in games during the season where I’ve watched Bogut and actually thought the Mavs would be better off with him on the bench, Tonight was not one of those games. Although he didn’t score a bunch, he was so crucial on defense and forced the Pelicans to second guess themselves a lot of the times they drove into the paint. Bogut finished with only 5 points, but pulled down a game high 14 boards (5 offensive).
Bogut’s passing ability was on full display tonight, even though he only finished with 3 assists, there was numerous times that his passes opened up open looks as the ball was able to freely move around the court. With Dirk looking to be out likely quite a bit over the next month, Bogut will have to step up and keep playing like he did tonight to fill the void. His scoring won’t ever be up there to contribute like Dirk does, however is ability to create for others is so crucial.
The Mavericks will take on the Spurs next on Wednesday at the AAC who will be on the second night of a back to back. Perhaps the Mavs can start a new streak?