The early start seemed to have no ill effects on the Dallas Mavericks as they raced out of the gates and blitzed the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavs shot 65 percent from the field and connected on seven of the 11 three-point attempts. Luka Doncic, Welsey Matthews and Maxi Kleber all hit two three pointers and Dennis Smith Jr. connected on the other. The Mavericks were throwing flames from all over the court while the Hawks shot just 33 percent. Doncic led the way with 12 points, and just because sports require pettiness, Trae Young scored only one point. After one, Dallas took a 42-22 lead.
The Mavericks picked up where they left off in the opening minutes of the second quarter pushing the lead to 26 points. Individually, Matthews remained hot scoring 15 points within the first 15 minutes. The Maverick reserves kept the momentum, but once Rick Carlisle subbed out the reserves the wheels seemed to fall of. Carlisle put Smith, Dorian Finney-Smith and Doncic back into the game to join Matthews and DeAndre Jordan with a 51-25 lead. From there, the Hawks took control of the game and outscored the Mavericks 23-7 the rest of the quarter. Kent Bazemore scored 14 of his game-leading 18 points in the second and helped the Hawks outscore the Mavs by 10 in the quarter. Thanks to an opening frame onslaught, the Mavericks were still able to to maintain a 58-48 lead into the half.
Atlanta picked right back up in the third quarter racing out to an 11-2 run before a Smith bucket on the break and an offensive rebound put back. Bazemore responded with a three of his own, but the highlight of the quarter came on the other end when Matthews penetrated and dropped the ball of to Jordan. Jordan took a gather step and threw down a Space Jam-like dunk over Alex Len drawing the foul as well. Outside of the first quarter, the Mavericks continued to shoot poorly but were able to do just enough to keep the Hawks at bay even though they clawed back to shrink the lead all the way to one. However the Mavs were able to take an 87-80 lead into the fourth.
The two squads traded buckets for much of the final quarter with the Mavs stretching the lead to as many as eight, only to have the Hawks take their first lead with 5:13 left on a Trae Young free throw. The teams traded jabs once more and ended up tied at 101 with two minutes to play until Bazemore knocked down a jumper to put Atlanta up two. The Mavericks defense failed to offer any resistance out of the timeout allowing Bazemore to knife through the lane and tomahawk jam the Hawks to a four-point lead. For whatever reason, Matthews fouled Young 40 feet from the basket, and Young put the Hawks up six. From there it was a foul game, but Atlanta put the Mavericks away. Dallas has now lost 10 consecutive times to Atlanta, but this one was a complete meltdown. The Mavericks journey atop .500 was short lived as they fall to 2-2. They take on the Toronto Raptors on Friday and hope to see Harrison Barnes make his season debut.
The Mavericks’ shot completely disappeared
Dallas looked like world beaters in the first jumping out to a TWENTY (!!) point lead. They made seemingly everything they put up and connected on seven of their 11 triples. The well ran dry after that and the Mavs struggled to make anything from there on out. From the second quarter on Dallas made just 5-of-29 from deep. Matthews, who started the game 6-of-6, finished 9-of-21 from the field and 5-of-14 from three. Doncic struggled as well making only two of his nine threes, while Barea made one of his 10 field goal attempts.
The Mavericks’ defense is baaaad
After limiting the Hawks to a respectable 22 points in the first quarter, the top got blown off the Dallas D as the Hawks went on to score 26, 32, and 31 points in the remaining three quarters. Atlanta started the game 5-of-18 from deep, but then went on to connect on 10 of the remaining 20 attempts. The Mavericks have struggled mightily to defend the three-point line, and tonight was no different. Bazemore also enjoyed a career night at the Mavs expense blowing up for 32 points and seven assists on 12-of-22 shooting. Bazemore averages eight points for his career and never topped 30 last season if you were wondering. I’ll try not to overreact, but Jordan looked ineffective at playing help defense, and Matthews just doesn’t appear to be the same defender he used to be.
- The Mavericks missed 10 free throws and lost by seven.
- Dennis Smith Jr. injured his ankle late. Carlisle opted to keep him in but Smith was not effective in the slightest bit. Barea checked in for him to play out the remaining minute or so of the game. We’ll see how serious the injury is later.
- Before the injury Smith had a relatively good game scoring 14 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing six assists. He shot 50 percent and looked active and engaged throughout most of the game.
- Jordan grabbed 16 rebounds for the second straight game, but the Mavericks were out rebounded by two.