The Dallas Mavericks took on the Detroit Pistons Thursday night, on a random NBA weekday where nothing special or particularly interesting happened...
OK, so it’s impossible to talk about this game without mentioning that the Mavericks executed a shocking trade with the New York Knicks, acquiring 7’3 big man Kristaps Porzingis and sending away embattled point guard Dennis Smith Jr, as well as veterans Wes Matthews and DeAndre Jordan.
Though the deal had reportedly been in the works for some time, news that Kristaps had asked to be traded hit the internet in the early afternoon. Before anyone could even write up a “possible destinations” piece, however, Kristaps was on the move, to a team that wasn’t on the presumed list of preferred teams. This was a truly out of nowhere move for Dallas, and as it relates to tonight’s game, it left the Mavs in an unusual situation, with only 10 players available to play against the Detroit Pistons.
BARNES TRIES TO TAKE OVER
Luka Doncic was not one of those 10 available players, as he got the night off to rest an ankle injury. That meant Harrison Barnes would need to step up and take on a larger load on offense, and Barnes responded with 27 points, though he did need 24 shots to get them, and he turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 4 times as well. Barnes did hit a big three down the stretch that looked like it might be the difference-maker, but the Mavs struggled at both ends closing this one out and allowed Detroit to take control and keep off a rally in the final minute.
DEVIN HARRIS WITH HIS BEST GAME IN WEEKS
The 35-year-old guard scored 15 points thanks to some extended run, and was the only other Mav aside from Barnes to score more than 10. It had been a quiet few weeks for Devin up until recently, but with a strong last few games it will be interesting to see how Devin fits now that the team’s roster construction has been altered so much. Devin will face competition from Trey Burke and Courtney Lee, the latter having played only sparsely this season in New York.
MORE TRADE TALK
It’s hard to focus too much on the game tonight given everything else that’s going on. This is clearly an important moment for the team, who amazingly will be replacing outgoing European legend Dirk Nowitzki with not only teen sensation Luka Doncic, but a 23 year old who idolized Dirk growing up in Kristaps Porzingis. It’s worth noting that Porzingis has stated through reporters that he intends to sign his Qualifying Offer, which would mean he skips restricted free agency to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. I don’t know how likely that really is, but given the presence of both Luka and Dirk(and highly respected head trainer Casey Smith), Dallas could be an ideal spot for Kristaps to deliver on the promise he’s shown at moments previously.
Either way, one thing is for sure: the NBA ain’t boring.