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3 things we learned from the Mavericks’ 111-104 loss to LeBron and the Cavs

In a close game, Dallas had its chances, but ultimately couldn’t pull out the W.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Dallas Mavericks Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Having not played since Tuesday’s thrilling road win against the Wizards, the Dallas Mavericks looked to string together consecutive wins against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They weren’t able to do so, falling by the final score of 111-104.

Here’s 3 things we learned from tonight’s game.

Harrison Barnes’ offensive struggles are behind him

It took Barnes a while to get it going offensively this season, but he seems to have shaken off any rust that was lingering from the offseason. Against the Cavs, Barnes put up 23 points and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes of plag. Playing primarily at the power forward position, it’s safe to assume that Barnes can continue to put up these kind of numbers all season long, especially against forwards that aren’t as fast as he is.

That being said, defensively, Barnes is going to struggle some nights when he matches up against bigger players that can bully him around in the post. That was the case tonight, as he matched up with Kevin Love. Love had it going all around tonight, scoring 29 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assists. This is one big downside to playing Barnes at the four.

Dennis Smith Jr. continues to stuff the stat sheet

Smith Jr. was coming off a career-high 22 points against the Wizards, to go along with 8 assists and 8 rebounds. He didn’t quite have that good of a night this time around, but Smith Jr. continues to show that he can do a lot more than just scoring. Tonight, he posted a stat line of 21 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, drawing high praise from LeBron James, who Smith Jr. considers one of his mentors.

Nerlens Noel’s situation hits an all-time low

We’ve been complaining about Noel’s minutes for weeks now, but tonight, the entire situation hit a new low, as Carlisle benched him for the entire game. However, the reasoning behind tonight’s DNP was a little more revealing than in past games.

If Noel is disengaged and not putting forth the required effort to get on the floor, maybe we’ve been putting a little too much blame on Carlisle. Anyway you slice it, this has been just a terrible situation for the Mavs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Noel traded at some point this season.

[Check back for more later tonight]