Before the season started, it was widely assumed that while the Mavericks wouldn’t be a playoff team or a particularly good one, they’d at least be a more fun team from a year ago and more entertaining to watch.
Dallas dropped to 0-3 after getting walloped by the Rockets 107-91 on Saturday night in Houston. James Harden did anything he wanted on his way to a game-high 31 points as the Rockets ran wild against an overwhelmed Mavericks team that was missing key rotation guys and don’t have much left in the tank on defense or offense.
Here’s what we learned:
Until the departed Mavericks return, this is going to be brutal
Dennis Smith Jr. has swelling in his left knee, Devin Harris is on a leave of absence after the tragic death of his brother and Seth Curry remains week-to-week with a stress reaction in his leg. The Mavericks miss all three of these dudes an insane amount.
Without those three guys, two of which are the better ball-handlers/initiators on the team and one is probably the best shooter on the team, the Mavs are a mess. Yogi Ferrell is a quality player, but not one that needs to run an offense by himself. J.J. Barea is doing everything he can, but he’s literally carrying all of the playmaking load on his tiny shoulders.
Dallas rolled out its third starting lineup in three games and it was the second straight game Wesley Matthews played at the two and Harrison Barnes started at the three. It’s just a mess as the Mavericks offense is rudderless without a true attacker and Matthews has more turnovers (11) than shots made (8) this season so far. With Dirk unable to post up anymore due to him being 39 YEARS OLD, the Mavericks have no one to run their offense through. They have a lineup with a bunch of finishers and no starters, except for Barea.
So the Mavs had no chance tonight. Their offense couldn’t keep up with the blitzing Rockets. Dirk shot 1-for-8, Wes shot 3-for-11 and Barnes shot 5-for-17. The Mavs had 19 assists and 15 turnovers and that ratio was way worse before garbage time. This is ugly. It’ll stay ugly till a couple of those guards return to playing. Don’t look at the schedule if you want to keep from vomiting.
Watching Dirk on defense is bumming me out, man
I don’t have much energy to keep typing up a recap after a trash game like this, so here’s a tweet.
Dirk looking washed on a bottom-5 team is definitely not how I fantasized his career ending after 2011.— Josh Bowe (@Boweman55) October 22, 2017
Dirk hasn’t looked great this season and while we can hope he gets his legs under him as the season progresses, the defense has just been terrible. It was tough to watch the Rockets repeatedly single out Dirk in the pick and roll and Dirk look absolutely helpless to stop them.
It’s an impossible situation to deal with. Dirk has said he’d come off the bench, but having him warm-up for 20 minutes, sit on the bench for six then check into the game doesn’t seem to be a great situation for his legs. On the other hand though, watching Dirk get put on roller skates in every pick and roll is really tough to watch.
The Mavericks aren’t getting their first win for a potentially long time.
OK I know I said don’t look at the schedule, but here’s the Mavs next 12 games:
Golden State, Memphis, at Memphis, Philadelphia, at Utah, at LA Clippers, New Orleans, at Minnesota, at Washington, Cleveland, at Oklahoma City, San Antonio.
Where is the next win? Dallas will be an underdog in every game of those 12 and the only wins that seem feasible are one of the Memphis games and Philadelphia. If Smith, Curry and Harris don’t get back on the court soon, the Mavericks are looking down the barrel of somehow starting the season worse than last year, where they started 4-17.
We all knew this was a rebuilding year for Dallas, but this definitely isn’t as fun as we hoped.