Going into tonight’s game, the Dallas Mavericks (9-23) had lost 3 straight games, while the Detroit Pistons (17-14) were riding a 3-game win streak. Fortunes changed in a big way, as the Mavs went on to blowout the Pistons, 110-93 in Dennis Smith Jr.’s return. Harrison Barnes continued to do his thing, Dirk hit a couple of threes, and the entire Mavs’ team as a whole just had themselves a really good night of basketball.
Here’s a few things we learned from tonight’s game.
Man, did we miss Dennis Smith Jr.
After being out for what seemed like forever with a hip strain, Smith Jr. finally made his return for the Mavs. He looked really fresh, scoring 15 points (5-10 shooting), 5 rebounds, 5 assists in just 21 minutes of playing time. With his fellow Dreamville native, J. Cole in attendance tonight, you knew Smith Jr. would try to put on a show, even if it was in limited minutes.
This was a big team win for the Mavs, but Smith Jr. played a really big part of that. Dallas has sorely missed their most explosive player, and the hope is that Smith Jr. can stay healthy while contributing like this for the rest of the season.
Harrison Barnes is in a nice groove right now
Barnes notched his second consecutive 20-point game, as he finished with 25 points (8-15 shooting) and 7 rebounds in 31 minutes. What’s great for the Mavs, is that it looks like Barnes has finally settled in from beyond the arc. Over the last two games, Barnes is shooting 55-percent from deep. If Barnes can even keep that number around the mid-40s, the Mavs will be winning a lot more games in the second half of this season.
This win is nice, but they won’t have much time to celebrate, because they travel to Miami to take on the Heat (16-15) on Friday night.