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Four Things from the Mavericks mopping of the Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-97

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The Mavericks have now won 4 of their last 5

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks shocked the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-97 Monday night at the American Airline Center. Harrison Barnes led Dallas with a 24 point, 11 rebound performance, while Lebron James had 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists in defeat.

Dallas took the fight to the Cavaliers early, jumping out to a 14-5 lead. Cleveland righted the ship in a hurry with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 14. The teams mainly traded baskets for most of the period, highlighted by a pair of Lebron James dunks. It appeared as if the Cavs could run away with the game, but Dallas repeatedly answered. Seth Curry ended the quarter with an amazing lay up, and Dallas trailed the Cavaliers 29-26 after one quarter.

The second quarter saw Dallas keep pace with Cleveland and repeatedly take the lead. The turning point happened at the 8:33 mark when Tristan Thompson picked up his third personal foul. Dallas proceeded to attack the rim and offensive rebounds with impunity as their lead grew to as many as seven points. The Cavs righted the ship and tied the game at 43 before Dallas took back control. Through a balanced effort the Mavericks took a 55-50 lead into the half

One would expect things to turn around for the Cleveland Cavs against the Dallas Mavericks. They did not. Most of the quarter saw the Cavs attempt to keep pace with a Maverick offense which received contributions from everyone. Dallas maintained at least a five point lead for most of the period, occasionally extending to 7-8 points before the Cavs would close the gap. A pair of Seth Curry buckets with under two minutes to go gave Dallas an 11 point lead which they would carry into the final quarter, up 81-70.

The steady diet of Harrison Barnes, Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry, Dwight Powell, and Wesley Matthews powered the Mavericks home in the final frame. The Mavericks maintained an 11-12 point lead before Ferrell buried a three pointer from the top of the key with 4:24 remaining to essentially seal the game. The Cavaliers attempted to make a late game rally, but were unable to close such a large gap. Dallas walked away with a 104-97 victory, completing their finest two game stretch of the 2016-17 season.

I am here for Yogi Ferrell

I still know very little about Yogi Ferrell. What I do know is that through two games, he’s averaging 14 points, 5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 3 steals against two of the very best teams in the National Basketball Association.

It’s remarkable that he fits so well with what Dallas is attempting to do offensively and nearly everything he does comes within game flow. He’s played a whopping 74 minutes in the last 27 or so hours and committed only two turnovers. It helps that teams are a bit unfamiliar with him, but so are his Maverick teammates. That he either was in the right spot or found the right spot while running pick and rolls is remarkable in a way that’s hard to contextualize.

He reminds me a lot of Mike James. That will get me killed by some, but James came to a Maverick team in 2012-13 in need of someone willing to take big shots and run the offense. Dallas doesn’t *need* that, since Deron Williams and Seth Curry have been excellent, but no one is going to turn down another rotation guard willing to step in and mix it up. At bare minimum the young man has earned himself a second 10-day contract!

The Dallas Mavericks actually controlled the glass.

The Mavericks are statistically the worst rebounding team in the NBA. That Dallas actually led the rebounding battle for much of the game is nothing short of remarkable. That effort was led by 38 year old Dirk Nowitzki, who along with his teammates, made sure that Tristan Thompson had a body on him on nearly every single defensive rebound. Thompson is top 10 in the NBA in offensive rebounds, averaging 3.6 per game. Controlling Thompson allowed them to better dictate the pace of the game.

Harrison Barnes and Dwight Powell led the Mavericks on the other end, with each grabbing 4 offensive rebounds a piece. Those extra possessions took the wind out of the sails of the Cavs offense.

History repeats itself.

The last time the Mavericks beat a Lebron James team period was in game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2011. Oh, and this happened in case you forgot.

That never gets old. Ignore that it didn’t have anything to do with this game.

This team is not going to tank.

Fans are still split on this. I get it. Looking to the future is fun, because it’s filled with possibilities.

You know what else is fun? Beating the Spurs and Cavs on back to back nights. Seth Curry floaters. Wes Matthews celebrations. Finding out who Yogi Ferrell is. Harrison Barnes growing. Dirk freaking Nowitzki.

Look at the standings. Yes, the Mavericks are still the third worst team in the West. They are also a mere three wins out of the 8 seed. It’s that wild out there. Things could change in a minute, of course, but this is FUN. I’m trying to soak it all in.