It’s perhaps best the Mavericks are now officially in the All-Star break. Anymore basketball like this could ruin relationships, lives and maybe eyeballs.
The Mavericks lost to the Kings on Tuesday night, 114-109. This was not a pleasing basketball game.
It started rough and never really relented. Dallas scored 16 point during a listless first quarter and Sacramento kept its foot on the gas the whole night. Zach Randolph was a terror throughout the first half, finishing the game with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The Kings pushed the lead to over 20 during the first half and kept control in the second. The Mavs briefly remembered how to play basketball for a quick spurt, opening the third quarter with a 17-3 run. Despite that, the Mavericks would never really threaten. The Kings put up a couple of buckets in response and kept the lead up for the rest of the night.
As terrible as the game was, there was one benefit — the tank continued uninterrupted. Dallas is now tied for the worst record in the league again, sharing the basement with Phoenix and Atlanta.
The Mavericks played like poopy butt
Good grief. When the Mavericks decided it was finally time to prepare for the future at the trade deadline, I didn’t think the Mavs would crumble this quickly. An energetic win against the Lakers and a spunky effort against the Rockets foreshadowed what I figured would be the Mavericks kicking and screaming in every game, despite maybe still piling up losses.
This was, uhm, much worse. There was never any real point in the game where the Kings looked in danger. Dallas rolled over early, stayed rolled over and then just died. Sure, there were some small sparks in the third and fourth quarters, but never anything substantial. The Mavericks have now lost to the Kings at home twice, the Nets at home, the Bulls at home and the Hawks on the road. That’s quite list of crappy teams to lose to.
Dennis Smith Jr. still looks good even in bad games
There’s nothing remarkable about Smith’s line — 17 points, three assists, three rebounds, one turnover — but that’s almost precisely why it was notable when you consider how crappy the Mavericks looked for most of the night.
Nothing was working for Dallas and the offense was anemic. The Mavs finished shooting 45 percent as a team and 37.5 percent from three, but most of their damage was done late as the Kings packed it in. Sure, Smith contributed to the bad parts as he wasn’t as effective getting to the cup and settled for a a bit too many jumpers but he still managed to look like one of the best players on the floor.
Not every game from Smith is going to look like some amazing flash of super stardom. The fact that even his pedestrian games are still pretty good says a lot and says a lot of how much better Smith can get.
He didn’t play in the final five minutes though, which was kind of weird. Oh well.
Harrison Barnes probably isn’t who the Mavs hope he is
It’s been evident for a good bit, but it’s become more clear this season that Barnes isn’t the franchise player, number one option the Mavs desperately want him to be.
Barnes’ season hasn’t been a big leap from last season and the Mavericks play worse with him on the floor compared to last season. We’ve now had a lot of data dating back to last season with Barnes as the Mavs best player and we’re starting to see what kind of team that is — a lottery bound, bottom-10 team.
That doesn’t mean Barnes is bad, far from it! As I’ve been saying all season, not every player needs to be an MVP candidate to be considered a good and quality player. Some players are just best suited to being a second or third option. That’s probably for the best for Barnes and there’s nothing wrong with that, but those hoping to see another quantum leap from Barnes after lase season are probably a bit disappointed.
Barnes finished with 18 mostly empty points on 6-of-14 shoot, five rebounds and two assists and a steal. He’s just isn’t the type of guy to will teams to wins, although he is certainly capable of hitting tough clutch shots. It’s the minutes before that time where his struggles or limitations can be amplified.
BONUS NOTE: Dwight Powell!
Ho-hum, another good night from Powell. He had 18 points, six rebounds and *checks notes* five assists! Powell has been really good for the last couple of weeks and it’s been fun to watch.