The Dallas Mavericks hosted Devin Harris and the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night. Though Dallas is supposed to be tanking and the Nuggets clinging to a spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference playoffs, it was the Mavs who came away victorious, thanks to some hot shooting from both their oldest and youngest stars.
Dallas’ “young” lineup shines
For a nice stretch, Dallas rode a lineup featuring Dennis Smith Jr, Yogi Ferrell, Doug McDermott, Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel. That will probably never be a championship caliber starting unit or anything, but it was nice to see a young group succeed against an opponent that might make the playoffs. Yogi led all scorers with 24 points, and was scorching hot from start to finish, going 6-7 from deep. Dennis had 18, 11 and 5, and was dominant during a key portion of the game when Dallas opened up a double digit lead in the third quarter. Nerlens Noel and Doug McDermott were also key off the bench, as Noel had his best game since returning from injury, with 8 points and 15 rebounds, and McDermott continued his ultra-efficient play, with 15 points on just shots.
More about that lineup
The backcourt length would be a problem longterm, but I think that young lineup represents a blueprint for a future offense led by Rick Carlisle and captained by Dennis Smith, Jr. You have Dennis running the point, a quality secondary ballhandler next to him in Yogi who can also be very effective spotting up, a pair of athletic combo forwards in Harrison and Doug McBuckets, and then a rim roller in Nerlens. Several of those guys are free agents next year so the names may change, but you see that the team has the pieces and the identity to succeed as their experience level gets better.
Don’t forget about Dirk
With the kids being alright and all, you might have missed that Dirk had a nice night, as well. Nowitzki went 5-7 from deep, scoring 17 points overall in just 22 minutes. He’s already the most prolific three point shooting 39 year old ever, but it’s remarkable how good he’s been so late into the season. Dirk’s made 62% of his threes the last four games, raising what is already a career best in three point percentage(with a higher ratio of his looks being threes than ever before, as well).
Dallas gets a break before taking on the lowly Memphis Grizzlies Saturday. Until then, sound off, Mavs fans!