As expected, this was a fast paced game with plenty of offense, and though Brooklyn hung with the Mavericks most of the way, the home team pulled away in the final few minutes to earn their 8th victory on the season, and 5th in their last 6 games.
HARRISON BARNES LEADS WAY FOR HOT-SHOOTING MAVS
Dallas shot the ball pretty well collectively, but Harrison Barnes was the hottest hand of all, making five threes on eight attempts and pouring in a game-high 28 points. It was nice to see Barnes hit his catch-and-shoot looks, as that’s really going to be important for him as he adjusts to a more secondary role than what he’s been used to the last few years. Barnes doesn’t bring a whole lot else to the box score(five rebounds, no assists, no blocks and a steal rounding out his night), so making shots is nice.
DEVIN AND J.J. TURNING BACK THE CLOCK OFF THE BENCH
J.J. Barea returned from injury, as both he and Devin Harris led the bench with 18 points a piece. Barea has not been much of a three point threat this season(something he’d turned into the last few years), but his midrange game has been very solid, and Barea was a steadying force once again for the second unit, handing out 7 assists against just 1 turnover. For Harris, perhaps it was seeing his old team(OK, one of them) that helped him step in the way-back machine? Harris looked as young as ever, snatching 4 steals and getting to the free throw line 10 times in 18 minutes.
LUKA’S HO-HUM 21 POINT NIGHT
At this point, Luka Doncic can get 20 in his sleep. Despite taking just 11 shots, Doncic had 21-9-4, and missed a few chances at raising that assist total, as he sailed a couple of fast-break lob passes to Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan. Doncic also had a possible four-point play wiped off. In truth, this seemed like a game that Dallas could have won much bigger, but a couple of poor bounces and blown chances kept things within reach for a Brooklyn team who plays hard and executes their offense extremely well.
ANOTHER QUIET NIGHT FOR DENNIS
The downside to all the nostalgia over Dallas’ veteran bench is that more J.J. usually means less from Dennis Smith Jr. The second year guard, who was questionable coming in to Wednesday night’s game with a sprained right wrist(which was wrapped up heavily), played just 19 minutes, and had just 4 points and a pair of assists. It marks the third time in five games Dennis has played under 25 minutes.
The Dallas Mavericks will have a few days off to enjoy the holiday before Saturday night’s matchup against the Boston Celtics in Dallas. If they can pull off the upset, they will pull to .500 at 9-9, something that seemed inconceivable a few weeks ago.