The Dallas Mavericks were ran off the court Monday night by the Toronto Raptors, losing at the Air Canada Centre, 78-100. DeMar DeRozan led a balanced effort against Dallas, scoring 25 points and grabbing six rebounds. Harrison Barnes scored 18 for the Mavericks in what might be one of the worst team offensive performances of 2017.
Dallas kept things tight in the first quarter, going shot for shot against the larger front line of the Raptors. The Mavericks led 26-25 after one. With Nerlens Noel missing his third straight game (gulp), it was a little surprising to see the Mavericks hold their own. The Mavericks also kept pace throughout most of the second quarter. With under two minutes to play, Toronto had pushed the lead to seven when Dirk Nowitzki nailed a huge three to pull back within four. Toronto took a 50-46 lead into the half.
The wheels began to fall off for the Mavericks midway through the third quarter as the four-point Toronto lead slowly ballooned. A Dirk three and a Yogi Ferrell lay up brought the Mavericks within striking distance after the Raptors had pushed the lead to 11, but Dallas was unable to make anymore head way. Toronto took a 79-66 advantage into the final frame. The fourth quarter was rather embarrassing. Suffice to say, the Mavericks only scored 12 points in the fourth and only 32 in the entire second half. Dallas fell to Toronto, 78-100. The Mavericks are now 28-38, and a mere 8-23 on the road.
Where has the energy gone?
After an awesome game against the Lakers, the Mavericks have looked rather listless. The Brooklyn game was far too close for comfort, and Dallas wasted an awesome game from both Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes against the Phoenix Suns. The Mavericks got out rebounded by 21, and while that’s largely due to no Dallas player being able to buy a shot, that kind of margin is also indicative of energy. Do the Mavericks really rely this much on Nerlens Noel for an energy spark?
The Mavericks are fading fast in this hunt for the eighth seed.
Monday night’s loss would be tolerable if not for Saturday night’s gut punch against the Suns. These two games together have set the Mavericks back a great deal. With the Wolves and Nuggets both winning, the Mavericks remain firmly in 12th place in the Western Conference. Despite all the work done by the team and how fun the last few weeks have been, the Mavericks are still a pretty big long shot to make the playoffs. These two losses have set the team back in a very real way.
I miss Quinn Cook.
Before the game, Rick Carlisle said “We've got some guys that like to pound it. If they can't break themselves of that, then I'll have to break them of being on floor." Who could he be talking about?
The person that comes to mind is our old friend Jose Juan Barea, who is shooting a crisp 33 percent from the field and managed to post an amazing minus-14 in just 17 minutes of playing time. Quinn Cook was by no means a star, but he also didn’t hurt the Mavericks. Of course, Barea was hardly alone this evening in being unable to find the bottom of the net. Bricking shots was an entire team effort.
Plus-minus is a weird stat
It’s about time I admit that I was unable to watch the game. Something came up with the person scheduled to write it and since it’s late, no one else was awake to write anything. So here’s what I need you all to explain to me: how the heck did Dirk have a minus-1 and Harrison Barnes have a minus-25?
Dirk played nearly 30 minutes, and the Mavericks were outscored by just one point while he was on the floor. Harrison played 36 minutes and was outscored by 25 points while he was checked in. How the heck did that happen? Did all the brick-laying commence in the later half of the third when the Toronto lead ballooned out of control? Or was it during the fourth when things got entirely out of hand?
Neither played particularly great or bad games (though, Harrison, again... three free-throw attempts a night after getting a career high? Come on, my man!), but that kind of disparity is ridiculous. I’d be curious as to what in the hell happened.