The Dallas Maverick win streak was stopped at four by the Denver Nuggets Monday night, as they fell 110-87. Will Barton led the Nuggets, shooting lights out and pouring in 31 points on 12 of 18 shooting. Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell each had 15 for the Mavericks in defeat.
Dallas opened the game with a sweet pick and pop jumper where Wesley Matthews found Dirk Nowitzki on the left wing. That would be the only time in the game the Mavericks would lead. Will Barton and the Nuggets scored with ease, despite Nikola Jokic getting into early foul trouble. Denver threatened to run away with the game early, save for a few timely Seth Curry buckets that kept Dallas within reason. Barton’s 13 points in the frame gave Denver a 29-24 lead after 12 minutes.
The second period opened with Denver getting an offensive board, committing a foul, then giving up another offensive board. The Nugget five point lead quickly became eight, then 10, then 14. Turnovers, ineffective offensive, and sloppy transition defense were a Maverick recipe for disaster. A Seth Curry three and Dwight Powell pick and roll bucket at the rim brought the lead down to 9 with six minutes left before Denver exploded down the final half of the quarter and expanded the lead to 22. Dallas trailed 37-59 at the half.
Denver punched the Mavericks in the mouth to start the second half, building their lead to 27 points before Rick Carlisle called a timeout. Dallas responded with three straight buckets before Denver called a timeout of their own. Denver rebuilt the lead to 27 before the Mavericks started a methodical march to cut the lead down to 15 with around 3 minutes remaining in the quarter. Both offenses went cold and made some terrible plays (Dorian Finney-Smith got rejected by the rim on a drive). The Mavericks could get no closer than 15, and Denver finished the quarter up 82-67.
Dallas opened the fourth quarter with a shot clock violation. Luckily, a pair of Denver turnovers resulted in four straight points from Dwight Powell and the Mavericks down 82-71. Gary Harris refused to let Dallas close the gap, hitting a three, then a shot at the rim as the Mavericks struggled to too capitalize on another pair of Denver turnovers. Will Barton extended the lead to 17 before a Yogi Ferrell answered with a three of his own. A Powell free throw cut the lead to 13, but then Wilson Chandler and Gary Harris buried the Mavericks for good, giving the Nuggets a 20-point lead with just over 3 minutes remaining. With a game tomorrow night against the Blazers, Carlisle cleared the bench. Dallas fell to the Nuggets, 110-87.
Rebounding and turnovers helped keep victory at bay.
There’s not a ton to say about this game. For those who’ve witnessed the win streak, this was a regression on just about every front, with all the Maverick flaws getting exposed at once. The three point shooting fell off, the three point defense was terrible, and the bench wings provided no support.
Looking back at game flow though, it was the eight first half turnovers paired with getting destroyed on the boards (-20) that spelled doom for the Mavericks. Yes, they made repeated attempts to get that Nugget lead down to single digits, but Dallas went down 27 because there was not a consistent effort to control the glass. The turnovers essentially went away in the second half, but the first possessed some of the worst Maverick decision making I’ve seen in weeks.
Dorian Finney-Smith has hit the rookie wall
And that is okay. Considering he was an utter and total surprise, that his strong play has fallen off recently is not surprising. Finney-Smith had some really bad offensive plays against Denver and had the hands of Erick Dampier for an evening as he seemed unable to just catch the ball.
That wouldn’t be a big problem in a vacuum, but with the Dallas rotation needing players to fill minutes it’s a problem that...
Justin Anderson has not grown as a player
We have just over 100 games played and 1300 something minutes of Justin Anderson play. Is this enough to draw some conclusions? I think so.
- He is really, really bad at shooting. I’ve read about how he’s improved his form and balance and every now and again there are flashes. But far too often it looks like he’s a human trebuchet and for a guy pegged as a “3 and D” player out of college, he’s missing the “three”. With over 200 attempts, he’s hit under 60. That is 30%. That’s not going to cut it.
- Anderson makes far too many basic defensive lapses. In limited action against Denver, he had the unenviable task of matching up against Wilson Chandler. One possession he insisted on attempting to guard him 40+ feet from the rim. Chandler methodically drove into the lane, then backed him down for a lay up. In the second quarter, Anderson let his man in the corner score on a back door cut because he was busy watching the ball handler not 10 feet away on the left wing. If Rick had any hair, he’d pull it out after that possession.
- He’s capable of some amazing athletic plays. I really enjoy watching him rebound.
I still think he’s a rotation guy, but he’s just got a long way to go. There’s no real discernible skill, other than being a freak athlete, that would result in him demanding playing time. There’s plenty of reason to keep him around, but if you wanted to know why he doesn’t see consistent playing time, then the contest against Denver should be exhibit 1A.