The Dallas Mavericks were unable to keep their win streak alive, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans 111-104. Anthony Davis destroyed the Mavericks, scoring 28 points, grabbing 16 boards, and dishing 4 assists. Deron Williams led Dallas in scoring with 24 points.
The Pelicans hopped out to an early lead on the strength of rookie Buddy Hield’s excellent shooting. With Dirk Nowitzki playing his second game after a long injury absence, Mavericks eventually worked themselves back into the game and trailed 20-25 following one period. The second period saw the Mavericks come alive offensively, shooting well from all over the court. However, a rash of turnovers kept the Pelicans close and they were able to regain a two point lead heading into half time.
Stellar outside shooting allowed the Pelicans to extend their third quarter lead to eight points. The Mavericks were unable to take the lead, despite fantastic shooting from Deron Williams and strong drives from Seth Curry. The final period became the Anthony Davis show, as he controlled the boards defensively and marched to the free throw line repeatedly on the other end of the court. The Mavericks fell 111-104
Now, for some specifics:
The three point defense was bad and Dallas has to figure out why
The Mavericks are the worst three point defending team in the league, allowing opponents to shoot just under 40% from beyond the arc. The Pelicans hit an absurd 12 of 25 against Dallas Monday evening. Yes, some of that is Langston Galloway hitting all five of his deep attempts, but this is a season long problem.
The question is why? The Mavericks have good perimeter defenders in Wesley Matthews, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Harrison Barnes. Is it the lack of unit cohesion due to unfamiliarity? Is it defensive weakness at a specific position like point guard or center? The lack of rim protection felt big against the Pelicans, but is that the case regularly?
Dirk Nowitzki looks good for the second straight game
Thank God. Dirk wasn’t quite the gunner he was against the Pelicans as he was against the Clippers, putting up 9 shots in 17 minutes. A number of his misses were the result of attempting to bail out a creaky looking Maverick offense. Overall, he looks as good as we can expect from a 38 year old basketball mummy. I’m more than a little unsure about the Dirk-as-center test, but if Harrison Barnes plays his best basketball from the power forward spot, it makes sense. There’s a large enough sample to know the Mavericks aren’t going to be world beaters on defense with a traditional line up anyway.
A few more games on minutes restrictions should quell Dirk’s own commentary on his retirement. He’s just too effective, even in limited time.
That was Seth Curry’s best game in a Maverick uniform
Until tonight, I’ve been underwhelmed by Curry. Despite his 37% three point shooting for the season, every time I watch it feels like he can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
Not tonight. Barnes ran the offense exceptionally well, using his three point threat as a means to drive past the defense for either a pass out once he was in the lane or a tear drop shot attempt. 16 points and 7 assists later, it’s clear Seth Curry was a huge reason the Mavericks hung with the Pelicans for most of the game.