The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Brooklyn Nets 109-104 Wednesday evening. DeMarre Carroll led the Nets with 22 points and seven rebounds. Harrison Barnes was the high point man for the Mavericks, chipping in 17 points, eight rebounds, and a career high six assists.
The entire game had the feel of a sloppy pick up game played between friends who really wanted to win. The Mavericks started fast and furious, with Maxi Kleber leading the way early. The rookie hit five of seven shots in the quarter and grabbed six rebounds. The Nets kept reasonable pace with Dallas though the Mavericks finished the quarter up 27-21.
Things changed for Dallas in the second quarter as their outside jumpers stopped falling and the relentless Nets drove to the rim time and again. Though the shots weren’t falling for Brooklyn either, they took a small lead with three minutes left to play in the half. A Dirk Nowitzki three with five seconds remaining pulled Dallas within one as the half closed with the Nets leading 48-47.
The third period saw the Mavericks briefly retake the lead as Maxi Kleber continued his reign of terror and Wesley Matthews connected on a great looking wing three pointer. But the Nets kept coming and the third quarter eventually devolved into a free throw fest. Brooklyn took a 80-76 lead into the final quarter.
The final frame was a wild and wonderful stampede of basketball that included little defense, lots of drives, more made shots, and a ton of offensive rebounds. The Mavericks were never really able to chip into the Net’s lead, nor was Brooklyn able to extend their margin. The Mavericks had multiple oppertunities to close the gap in the final seconds, as the Nets were unable to connect on game sealing free throws, yet somehow Dallas gave up TWO offensive rebounds on missed Nets free throws. Brooklyn escaped Dallas with a 109-104 victory.
Maxi Kleber is an honest to goodness rotation player in the NBA. That’s not a thing I would have believed even 10 games ago. The signing felt like PR chicanery; a basketball player from the same hometown as Dirk... why that’s a great idea! He might not be anything past a 7th or 8th man, but that’s pretty ridiculous for a player most people have never heard of. His effort and his shooting are really beneficial to this struggling Mavericks team.
Harrison Barnes continued with his low key awesome season, where he keeps addressing the critical concerns which have followed him during his career. Versus the Nets he got to the line six times and dished out a career high in assists with six. The Nets have a porus defense, so it’s best not to read too much into the volume, but that numbers in recent games have been comparable means that Barnes may finally be developing a skill that is rarely seen as improvable: vision.
The only “bad” thing in this game, other than the final score, were Dennis Smith’s shooting numbers. The announcing crew mentioned he’d been fighting a bug, which could explain the 3 of 11 performance, but a number of his looks were just bad. Smith has a small problem where if he gets a big switched on to him, come hell or high water he’s going to get an attempt off. That’s an impulse he needs to curb just so if the Mavericks are going to have a consistent offense.
Offensive rebounds are the bane of Dallas in most losses. Through three periods the Mavericks gave up six offensive boards, a respectable total given the Mavericks known rebounding woes. During the fourth quarter, they gave up EIGHT offensive rebounds, including three in the final 2:06. That’s simply inexcusable and resulted in a night of wasted Maverick effort.