The losing streak is over! After dropping six straight, the Dallas Mavericks get back in the win column, defeating the also-struggling Washington Wizards in Dallas on Tuesday night. The team improves to 3-6 on the first night of a back-to-back, and responds following that putrid loss to the Knicks Friday.
WES MATTHEWS KEEPS WASHINGTON MOJO
Apparently Wes Matthews enjoys seeing those Wizards colors, because once again the Mavs’ sharpshooter had it set on automatic(as the late Jim Durham would say). Matthews entered the night having made 26 of his last 47 threes against Washington(h/t to tireless MMB researcher Kirk Henderson), and he buried 5-8 Tuesday en route to a 22 point showing. You may remember Wes tied a franchise record with 10 threes against the Wiz back in 2015, his first season as a Mav.
DENNIS SMITH JR. MAKES THINGS HAPPEN LATE
A spectacular dunk in the final minute aside, it was a quiet but effective night for Smith. The Wizards had the Mavs’ lead cut down to six with a little over five minutes left, when Smith rattled off a pair of baskets for himself along with four assists, doing a great job of attacking the paint and finding people. Smith didn’t force his shot, and while he still doesn’t look to have a great feel for where to go with the ball once he gets inside, he’s able to get there consistently enough to make the defense pay. It’s a long road ahead and this was not a quality opponent, but it was still a positive step forward for DSJ.
DOE-DOE CONTINUES TO DEMAND A BIGGER ROLE WITH HIS PLAY
For all the hoopla over Luka Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith might be the biggest surprise story of the early season, as Doe-Doe again showed off his improved three-point shot, hitting three triples, including one really nice catch and shoot off a screen(most of his threes tend to be wide open). Finney-Smith also played his trademark aggressive defense, blocking three shots and grabbing five boards in 28 minutes. Carlisle has experimented with playing Wes more with the second unit and getting Finney-Smith burn with the starters, and in both respects it seemed like a strategy that paid off in this game.
OBLIGATORY LUKA UPDATE
The Slovenian wunderkind led the Mavs with 23 points, including a torrid stretch in the second quarter, yet it somehow felt like a ho-hum night. Doncic finished with six boards and three assists, and was +10. The step back threes weren’t falling, but Doncic continues to wreck defenders who pay too much attention to DeAndre in pick and roll action with his floater game.
Mavs won’t have much time to celebrate here, as they head to Utah for a tough road game on the second night of a back to back. The NBA is unforgiving like that. But hey, a win!