BROOKLYN — Yogi Ferrell returned to the Barclays Center for the first time on Sunday since joining the Mavericks on a ten-day contract back in late January. Ferrell wasted no time showing he belonged to the Mavericks when he became the third undrafted player in history to score at least 30 points within his first 15 career NBA games.
So how did he feel coming back to the place where he made his NBA debut?
Pretty calm. When asked about it before the game, Ferrell said “Feels good. Real familiar with the gym and the arena. Got a few friends coming."
His confidence is warranted. Ferrell only played ten games in Brooklyn but he’s been a completely better player in Dallas and you see it in all his numbers.
His calmness showed as he jumped out in the first quarter to stake the Mavs to a 17-6 start. He opened the game by shooting 2/2 from the field while loading up a full line - handing out three assists, making two steals and a block before subbing out.
Asked about the early start, Ferrell said, “We came out with lot of energy in the first half, a lot of force.”
Ferrell did give way to the veteran point guard J.J. Barea in the second half as Barea had one of his highest scoring games of the season with 20 points to keep the Mavericks ahead of the Nets as they made a run. With the lead down to two points, the Mavs managed to ice the win with a couple long jumpers from Barea and strong drives to the hoop from Barnes.
Ferrell summed it up nicely, “J.J. and Dirk and Harrison came out for the clutch 4th quarter. And that’s just what vets do.”
Ferrell is often paired at the hip with Dirk Nowitzki; the duo frequently sub in and sub out together. In fact, two of his five assists were to Nowitzki, who finished with 23 points as the Mavericks’ leading scorer.
Nowitzki described the importance of the win: “Coach was obviously on one yesterday. Practice was very intense. It challenged us and we responded in the right way.”
Ferrell finished with eight points and a diverse line as he handed out five assists, three steals and a block in 22 minutes. The young point guard flashed his potential and set the tempo with his game early on but also showed his big-picture view and team mindset with his insights afterwards.
His growth will be a key factor for the team moving forward.
Other game notes
- Nerlens Noel played 21 minutes, including the closing minutes as the Mavs needed someone to cool off Brook Lopez, who matched Nowitzki’s 3/6 performance from deep. Noel’s length forced Lopez into an airball towards the end. Asked about it, Noel said “I’ve been playing against him for some time when I was in the East Coast and he definitely has expanded it. I just tried to make an impact.”
- Seth Curry’s recent shooting slump continued as he shot 3/9 from the field with no three pointers to finish with 8 points. He’ll look to get back on track against big brother Stephen Curry on Tuesday.