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Bulls 86, Mavericks 73: 4 observations from Mavs' penultimate Summer League game

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The Mavs are almost done with Summer League after a loss to the Bulls and we have some thoughts.

NBA: Summer League-New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

An 86-73 loss to the Bulls in the Las Vegas Summer League Playoffs on Thursday night dropped the Mavericks out of running for the championship, leaving only one final consolation game played on Friday for the summer league team. The game will be played at 9 p.m. CST.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back against a relatively fresh Chicago squad that also featured way more talent was too much for Dallas to overcome.

The Mavericks kept it relatively close all game, but the Bulls just pounded the Mavs on the inside, as second-year player Bobby Portis had his with the Mavs front line in tune to 19 points.

Dallas had some brief flashes of a comeback in the second half thanks to a couple Justin Anderson threes but the Mavs never got it to a one possession game in the final half.

Here are my thoughts from the first start-to-finish watch of this Summer League squad so apologies if the thoughts or focus is on stuff we’ve already talked about.

Justin Anderson should be fine

Anderson shot terrible from the floor again, 4-of-13 for just 15 points. He finished Summer League under 40 percent from the field with some wildly inconsistent three point shooting but really, that’s OK.

Much like Jae Crowder before him, Anderson was practicing a role he’ll never have to play for the Mavs any time soon. Anderson is not a ball-handler, he’s not a creator and he’s not a first-option scorer. He’s a dynamic defender and a nice off-ball option either as a spot-up guy or cutter.

So seeing Anderson brick pull-up jumpers or make questionable passes in the pick and roll didn’t worry me too much. Anderson was clearly psychically at another level during his stint, running the floor hard and swatting shots any chance.

I was actually somewhat impressed with a couple of the passes Anderson through against the Bulls. His subpar Summer League teammates didn’t reward him with an assist but Anderson didn’t completely embarrass himself and he’ll be fine this year.

Jonathan Gibson can score but he doesn’t have a role on this Mavs team

Gibson had another decent scoring game with 14 points but only shot 5-of-13 to get there. He looked good once again tonight spotting up behind the arc and even flashed an OK off-the-bounce game, scoring a runner in the face of second-year player and first round pick Jerian Grant.

He still doesn’t show any knack for passing and he’s still pretty small. Honestly, although he’s got a contract from Cuban, I’m not sure what Gibson is gonna do this year on a roster that has J.J. Barea, Devin Harris and Seth Curry as bench guards. I’d imagine Gibson will spend most of his time with the Texas Legends but he at least showed he can score. I’m honestly not sure what else he can do but maybe that’s good enough for a final roster spot.

AJ Hammons looked much better

I watched five minutes of Hammons in the first game and saw a player that got extremely disinterested if he never got the ball on a post up, looked super slow and very flat-footed on defense.

After seeing how well Hammons did when he matched up against NBA prospects during his final year in college, I was sorta shocked to see Hammons loafing it for most of the Summer League. Guess that three-year contract got to his head.

So I was very thankful to see Hammons look totally different against the Bulls. He didn’t look lost in space against the pick and roll on defense, he moved quickly and decisively and he guarded the rim well. He had a couple nice finish, a couple bad dropped passes but this was a much better effort than I saw in that first game. If Hammons can respond to Rick Carlisle, there’s definitely a player here. He finished with five points, five rebounds and two blocks

Finney-Smith is so skinny

I kept hearing during the broadcast that Dorian Finney-Smith could play some small-ball four. I’m not sure how that’s possible since he’s thinner than a damn broomstick.

Finney-Smith hasn’t had a great Summer League, which isn’t a big concern for guys that project as role players since they need stable guards to create their offense and defense is hard to show in this quick stint.

He at least looked better tonight. He’s got a partially guaranteed contract but he’s still going to have to fight for a roster spot. Considering the Mavs will be especially thin on the wing if one of either Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes or Justin Anderson go down, it’d be nice if Finney-Smith could nail down a spot.

His stroke appears legit and the mechanics looked good. Finney-Smith only scored seven points and hit one three but he was energetic throughout the night, finishing with five rebounds. I think I like him? It’ll be interesting to see how he does in the preseason against bigger and thicker NBA bodies.