As rare as it’s been this season, the Mavericks found a win. This wasn’t just a win, it was a pummeling. So to get a win over a Denver team who has just as many question marks as Dallas does is encouraging.
Dallas got off to a strong start, leading by eight at the end of the first quarter. Salah Mejri wasn’t having anything to do with allowing any easy layups or dunks, getting a handful of blocks and pretty much just being in the way. But then they kept rolling. They finished the half up 65-43, shooting 65 percent from the floor, with most of that being benefited by their 40 points in the paint.
It was a fantastic effort from the top to the bottom of the roster, with nearly everyone getting into double-digit scoring. Wesley Matthews led the way with 25 points on 71 percent from the field.
Wes Matthews shooting the arrow
In December, Wes is averaging just over 21 points, shooting 46 percent from deep. He’s been an absolute cannon (er... bow) for the Mavericks. Tonight he tacked on five more buckets from deep; he now has four or more threes in seven of his last eight games. If he wasn’t stepping into a catch-and-shoot, he was creating plays off the dribble, driving inside, posting up on Wilson Chandler, you name it, he did it.
Another night, another Finney-Smith career-high
Just the other night against Indiana, Dorian Finney-Smith went 5-for-8, knocking in a pair of three-pointers, finishing with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Tonight, he had almost the SAME stat sheet as he did against Indiana. 5-for-9, three from deep, finishing with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Finney-Smith isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
His nine rebounds led the team tonight, and was second only to Jusuf Nurkic (11) on the court.
Finney-Smith is recognizing that if there’s a time to seize the moment, it’s now. Dallas needs players to step up and take ahold of the team. In November, it was Harrison Barnes, right now, it’s Wes Matthews, but it’s looking like Dorian Finney-Smith’s time is coming soon to be the man-of-the-month.
The Mavericks’ points in the paint: 48
Dallas dunked, lay-upped, and tear-dropped their way to 48 points in the paint. Their season average has been 32 all year, last in the league. If they put up 48 every night, they’d be third in the league behind Oklahoma City and and Milwaukee. But how did they do it?
The nine steals helped get 21 fast break points. But also, Barnes looked extremely comfortable driving to the basket. He’s been hesitant to take it to the hole and draw a foul, but tonight he shot seven free-throws, clearly showing signs of willingness to get contact. The Mavericks looked strong when they took the Denver defense inside, as they out-ran them to the bucket on majority of drives. They didn’t need screens or fancy crossovers; it was pure speed that got them to the basket on multiple drives.