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Four things we learned following the Maverick defeat at the hands of the Jazz, 104-89

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a strong first half on the road, the Dallas Mavericks fell to the Utah Jazz 104-89. Swingman Rodney Hood poured in 25 for Utah while Dirk Nowitzki was the high point man for Dallas, putting up 18 in defeat.

The Mavericks started slow against the Utah Jazz but slowly came to life as the quarter wore on. A strong early showing from Rudy Gobert on both ends of the floor put the Jazz ahead early. Following a pair of Rick Carisle timeouts and a shake up in the line up allowed Dallas to claw their way back into the game. Hitting five of seven threes in the quarter allowed the Mavericks to hang around despite turning the ball over six times. Strong bench scoring, mainly from Jose Juan Barea, resulted in Dallas taking a 27-21 lead into the second quarter.

The three point barrage continued into the second frame as Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowitzki, and even Dwight Powell connected from beyond the arc. Dallas controlled the ball on both ends, getting offensive rebounds and second chance baskets which kept the Jazz from establishing any sort of rhythm. Barea’s hot shooting continued as he added another eight points to his total, allowing the Mavericks to take a 53-44 lead into the half.

The wheels came off for Dallas in the third. Following a hot shooting first half, the Mavericks went ice cold. On the other hand the Jazz turned strong defense into good offense, and outscored the Mavericks 32-15 in the quarter. Dallas trailed 76-68 entering the final period.

Dallas toyed with closing the gap, getting within five points midway through the quarter. The usual culprits reared their head, however, with turnovers and opposing offensive rebounds biting the Mavericks just as it seemed they could close the gap.

Dennis Smith, Jr. is still a rookie

Smith got off to a rough start, missing a few decent looks before having his lunch money taken from him by Ricky Rubio a few minutes into the game. He finished the game with just two points, one assist and four turnovers in 17 minutes of action.

As consistent as Smith looked early in the season, he’s slipped considerably the past three games. After posting just five turnovers in his first five games, Smith has coughed the ball up 14 times in three contests.

After his stellar performance against Memphis, Smith has turned in three duds. Though it’s to be expected to have a rookie struggle with consistency, these last three games have been ugly in a new way. He’ll need to hold on to the ball more or he may see his minutes drop.

Devin Harris still has it

Were you go back in time and tell me that Devin Harris would still be an effective player in year 13, I would have laughed. He’s manage to wheel his once explosive athleticism into veteran moxie and it’s pretty fun to watch at times. His 15 points and six assists (long with Jose Juan Barea’s first half heroics) were some of the only stats keeping this game respectable. That he led the team in free throw attempts isn’t great, but it remains awesome watching him get good calls in traffic. The Mavericks need his consistent play if they hope to win any close games.

Someone needs to remind Harrison Barnes that the free throw line exists

Barnes started the year posting games with nine free throws attempted in three of his first five games. His last free throw attempt was in the final minutes of the second quarter in the loss to Memphis. He’s effectively played 10 quarters without an attempt.

That’s unacceptable. Then again, the starters combined to hoist 44 shots and took a single free throw between the fivesome. Barnes is not alone in his recent free throw issues.

Dirk can still shoot!

The Big German connected on 7 of 11 attempts and passed up more than a few good looks. It’s been worrisome at times thus far, but seeing both his contested and uncontested jumper fall puts most of those concerns to rest. Here’s hoping he keeps firing.

***Bonus Point***

It’s hard to write about a team this weirdly bad. On the one hand, we all know they should probably be 3-5 instead of 1-7. And yet, 1-7 they are... so where do we go from here? I don’t want to write insanely negative recaps and I don’t want to write overly glowing reports about players who probably wont be Mavericks by 2019-20. This is going to be a tough season. Be patient with us and one another.