Fresh off ending a 5-game losing streak against the Sacramento Kings, the Dallas Mavericks looked to keep things rolling against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center tonight. The only problem was that Dallas had to play this game without its leading scorer and rebounder, Harrison Barnes. Without their best closer on the floor tonight, the Mavs surrendered a 13-0 to the Clippers at the end of the game, losing 104-101.
Here’s a few things we learned from the game tonight.
If this is it for some of the Mavs’ vets, they went out on a high note
With the trade deadline just a few days away, there has been speculation that the Mavs are open to trade anyone on the team not named Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes or Dennis Smith Jr. If there’s a contender out there looking for some savvy vets to bolster its bench, perhaps some consideration should be given to Wesley Matthews, J.J. Barea or Devin Harris. There could be a lot of debate on what kind of realistic return the Mavs could expect for those players, but there’s no doubt they could help a team competing for a championship this year if they were given the opportunity.
Matthews finished with 23 points (7-of-12 from deep) and five assists. Barea, in his second game back from a left oblique strain, scored 12 points (4-of-8 shooting), dished five assists and grabbed three rebounds. And finally, Harris put up an efficient 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. If this was the last time seeing Matthews, Barea or Harris in a Mavs’ uniform, they went out with a really good showing.
Smith Jr.’s struggles controlling and shooting the ball
Smith reminded us tonight that, even though he’s a superstar in the making, he’s also still a rookie. It was a tough night handling the ball for Smith, as he turned the ball over nine times. Smith also just shot 5-of-17 from the field. He also fouled out of this game in the final minute, with his last foul leading to game-winning free throws by Danilo Gallinari.
To be fair to Smith, he was guarded by one of the best defenders in the league for the majority of the night — Avery Bradley. This was just another growing pain that Smith is sure to learn from going forward.
On the bright side, Smith seemingly doesn't let his occasional struggles affect his confidence. He continues to stay aggressive, and once he tightens up those handles and gets his shot to fall consistantly, the kid is going to be a problem for opponents for many years to come. Also, enjoy this clip of Smith schooling our good friend, DeAndre Jordan.
Smith finished the game with 12 points, five assists and three rebounds.
The next time the Mavs take the floor, it’ll be after the trade deadline has passed, as they take on the defending champion Golden State Warriors Thursday night.