Devin Harris and J.J. Barea conduct a dominant bench mob performance to lead Dallas to victory, 128-108.
Dallas started the game off slow, again, as the starting five of Luka Doncic, Dennis Smith, Jr., Wes Matthews, Harrison Barnes, and DeAndre Jordan continues to show it is not the best group of five for Dallas. They came into tonight having played 150 minutes together with a plus-minus of -27.
It got worse tonight.
Rick Carlisle has got to win a way to either unlock that lineup’s potential, or figure out who should be sent to a 6th man role in favor of someone like Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Devin Harris, or, when he returns, Dirk Nowitzki.
Dwight Powell also returned to a few minutes of meaningful action tonight before giving way to the end of the bench in the fourth quarter after Dallas put the game away for good. The bench mob sealed it after a rough third quarter in which the starting five returned to a predictable flat opening of the half.
Luka Doncic can be the centerpiece of an offense, and just keeps making good things happen
Luka Doncic kept Dallas in it at the beginning of the game with a couple ridiculous three pointers near the end of shot clocks and a nice dunk in transition (his third of the season). His passing vision is truly something to behold, as when he’s on the attack, everything else tends to fall into place.
He bailed out the team in the corner. He drilled the majestic 40-footer to end the first half. But he also showed his great when he sprinted 90 feet after his shot clock beating three in the corner to deflect a full court Houston pass. On another sequence midway through the first quarter, he chased down an offensive board from the top of the key to the corner through two Rockets that started with position, immediately finding Harrison Barnes for one of his assists on the night.
The Mavericks bench dropped 61 points, continuing a monstrous November in which they have carried the team to a number of wins
Devin Harris and Maxi Kleber led the way with +29 and +28 performances, and Dwight Powell and J.J. Barea weren’t far behind at +27 and +24, respectively.
Harris caught fire in the fourth quarter, shooting 5-6 from three point range, finding his way to four assists, a few deflections, and two blocks in only 15 minutes of action. With J.J. Barea, the Mavs two elder statesmen (and the two players who have left and rejoined the team at points in their career) of the bench combined for 33 minutes, 33 points, and 16 assists.
Harris and Kleber do everything coaches love. They play with grit, stepping in to take charges and defense the rim. They nail open shots. They keep the ball moving on offense. They are excellent role players that could absolutely be parts of a championship-level team.
Dallas ran into some trouble on the glass, where they have to watch themselves
The Mavericks deviated from their typically strong defensive rebounding numbers and allowed 15 offensive boards in the game. They really had some trouble in the third quarter, when it felt as though Houston had 2 and 3 chances in many possessions in a row as they closed the gap from down twenty to within five of the Mavs. Between some hot shooting and the extra chances, Houston was able to outscore the Mavs 33-22 in the 3rd quarter.