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3 things we learned from the Mavericks underwhelming 97-91 loss to the Suns

With Devin Booker sitting out for Phoenix, the Mavs still found a way to lose the game.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a gut-wrenching defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks looked to get back in the win column against a Phoenix Suns team that was missing their young superstar, Devin Booker. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as the Mavs lost to the Suns, 97-91. The loss drops Dallas to 8-23 on the season, making them the 2nd worst team in the league behind the Atlanta Hawks (7-23).

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

Derek Harper’s No. 12 will finally hang from the AAC rafters

Towards the end of the first quarter tonight, it was officially announced that Derek Harper will have his number retired on January 7th, when the Mavs take on the New York Knicks for the first time this season. Harper, who is currently part of the Mavs’ broadcasting crew on FSSW, is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists with a total of 5,111. In his 12 seasons played in Dallas, Harper averaged 14.4 points and 5.9 assists per game, while shooting 47-percent from the field and 35-percent from deep.

The Mavs don’t retire players’ numbers often, so this will truly be a special occasion. Currently, the only former Mavericks that have their numbers retired are Brad Davis (No. 15) and Rolando Blackman (No. 22). It’d be nice to eventually see guys like Michael Finley and Mark Aguirre up there as well, but for now, let’s enjoy celebrating one of the best point guards in franchise history. Congrats, Harp!

Harrison Barnes continues to lead the Mavs

But man, it would be nice if he could get some respect from the officials every once in a while. I’ve complained about this pretty much all season, but it’s warranted. Barnes produced 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field. That’s a pretty good shooting percentage, but I recall seeing at least four instances where Barnes was fouled and it wasn’t called, resulting in his misses stacking up. Hopefully, as the season progresses, we’ll see Barnes start to get more of those calls. As a last resort, he may need to start flailing like James Harden does.

With each loss, #TeamTank continues to win

Make no mistake, this Mavs team is trying their best to win games, they just simply cannot do so. As the tough losses continue to pile up, the chances of the Mavs getting a really high draft pick in June also increase. Right now, the Mavs and the Hawks are duking it out for who’s the worst team in the league. Dallas is only a half game back from being able to officially claim that undesirable title.

The Mavs are missing two key contributors in Dennis Smith Jr. and Seth Curry, but I don’t even think having back both of those guys can effectively get the Mavs back into any kind of playoff discussions. However, getting those players back, combined with having an easier schedule in the second half of the season, will definitely lead to some more wins. Depending on who you ask, that could be a bad thing, though.