The Dallas Mavericks (19-42) took on the Indiana Pacers (34-26) at home last night and came away with a 109-103 victory after previously losing four consecutive games. The big news earlier in the day on Monday, however, was the announcement of Cynthia Marshall as the new interim CEO (soon to be full-time later in March) of the organization. After an impressive press conference a few hours before tipoff, Marshall was in attendance for the game, and perhaps she provided the Mavs with a little extra motivation to get the win.
Here’s three things we learned from the game last night.
Some nights, #TeamTank just has to take a back seat
One thing was made clear tonight — the Mavs aren't going to just roll over and die for better odds in the draft come June. Rick Carlisle chose to only play Maxi Kleber for 4 minutes last night and Kyle Collinsworth didn’t even see the floor. On the flip side, veteran point guard J.J. Barea led the team down the stretch with 19 points and 9 assists.
This may just be the team’s way of responding to Cuban’s recent comments about the team tanking, or it may have just been time for the Mavs to rattle off another win. After all, they did beat the Pacers earlier this season, so it wasn't all that surprising. Whether it’s in the team’s best interest to lose the rest of it’s games or not, the Mavs will continue to try hard in order to set the right tone for their culture heading into next season.
Harrison Barnes’ anti-tanking take: pic.twitter.com/ADKAcynQbC— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 27, 2018
Dennis Smith Jr. continues to subtly stuff the stat sheet
This wasn't the best game for Smith by any means, but even on night’s where he struggles to shoot, it seems like he always ends up with a handful of assists and rebounds. That tells me he’s engaged and looking to affect the game in more ways than one. Smith finished the game with 12 points (4-11 shooting), 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 28 minutes of play.
While his shooting numbers are disappointing in this rookie season, it comforts me to look at how similar Smith’s stats compare to Russell Westbrook’s rookie year. The future is bright for Smith, and I can't wait for him to have at least one more young, talented prospect to run with after this summer.
Holy crap, look at this pass
Something that hasn’t been talked about near enough from last night is this gorgeous pass from Barea to Mavs’ newcomer, Doug McDermott. There’s not much else to say about it. Just watch and admire!