After getting back in the win column against the Orlando Magic, the Dallas Mavericks hoped to make it two in a row as they played the Charlotte Hornets on the second night of a back to back. It wasn’t easy, but the Mavs closed out a 115-111 win, in what turned out to be their 11th consecutive “clutch game,” which is a game that is within five points with under five minutes left. Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and Yogi Ferrell were awesome, and Dennis Smith Jr. hit big-time free throws to help seal the win in his home state.
Here’s three things we learned from the game tonight.
Yogi Ferrell continues to shoot the lights out
One night removed from scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field (2-of-3 from deep), Ferrell carried over that momentum to Charlotte, scoring 22 points on 7-of-10 from the field. And check this out, every single one of his field goal attempts were threes. His performance tonight reminded me of that 3-point outburst he had against the Portland Trail Blazers last season.
H tter than your average bear pic.twitter.com/m5V843E7Ew— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 11, 2018
This hot streak from Yogi comes just a few days after the Mavs announced that he was getting his own signature burger at AAC, the “Yogimania” burger. Coincidence? Probably. But the “Yogimania” burger is here through the end of the month, and hopefully so is Yogi’s stellar shooting.
Dennis Smith Jr. is still having trouble against longer players
Smith Jr. finished with 16 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds, which isn’t bad at all, but he only shot 4-of-13 from the field. That was in large part because the Hornets stuck the bigger Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on him the entire game. Gilchrist is a 6’7” small forward with long arms, and he did a good job of making Smith Jr. uncomfortable all night. Smith Jr. definitely has the talent and the athleticism to get by bigger players, he just needs to learn how to compensate for size mismatches. It’ll be great to see how he makes that adjustment from his rookie year to his second year.
Despite the bad shooting night, though, Smith Jr. delivered in a big way from the free throw line, especially in the fourth quarter, going 7-of-8 overall. It was really nice to see the rookie step up when it counted. He made his family and friends in the stands proud tonight.
Harrison Barnes closed this game out like an absolute stud
Barnes scored 25 points (9-of-13 shooting) and grabbed 11 rebounds. He hit 3-of-5 from deep and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. What was most impressive though, was how Barnes looked like a dominant No. 1 option down the stretch. In the fourth quarter, Barnes went 5-of-5 from the field and knocked down the final free throws to seal the win. By now, everybody knows that Barnes can score 20-plus points on any given night, but it would be incredible for the Mavs, going forward, if he could string together more of these efficient, clutch games.
Bonus: Shoutout to Dirk for scoring 19 points on 8-of-16 from the field in only 23 minutes of play. He just scored 20 points in 24 minutes last night against the Magic. Oh yeah, and he’s played in every single game so far this year so far. Dirk is an absolute treasure and continues to have these kind of nights where he puts off Father Time. Soak it in while you still can, MFFL.
Dirk is 39 years old and has been in the league 20 years and has played in every game this year and tonight playing on the 2nd night of a back to back...He's got 19 points on 8 of 16 shooting...guy is incredible— Mike Peasley (@PeasESPN) January 11, 2018