This game was poop. Here’s what I noticed:
The Mavericks couldn’t hit a shot and nothing else mattered.
There were a litany of issues for Dallas in this game — the defense was rough early, they coughed the ball up six times in the first quarter and the offense was out of sorts as Boston made sure the Mavs non-playmakers were the ones trying to make plays.
All of those things matter, but really, the game came down to Marcus Smart making more three-pointers than the entire Mavericks team for three-fourths of this game. Dallas only made one of their first 16 three-point attempts and finished the game 11-of-44 overall, thanks to Luka Doncic waking up in the second and third quarters.
It was just one of those games, the kind of games the Mavericks have a lot on the road. The Celtics made 21 threes and despite whatever improvements the Mavs made, it didn’t matter. The defense shored up after a bad opening period and Dallas cleaned up the sloppy passes as the game progressed. None of it mattered because the Mavericks shot like ass. It happens and after Dallas went nova against the Hornets on Wednesday, felt kind of predictable. Dennis Smith Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki went a combined 0-for-13 from three and if Marcus Smart is making five more threes than that duo, you know you’re in for a long night.
The bench was a disaster
I wrote a post earlier today about how nice it was to see Dirk round into form from deep, since the bench desperately needed his shooting and court gravity. Well, I’m glad my dormant Dirk powers returned!
Dirk’s shot was in the dumpster and the rest of the bench horribly suffered. J.J. Barea went 2-for-8 and 0-for-4 from three as his quiet slump continues. Devin Harris didn’t do much in his 16 minutes and Dorian Finney-Smith continued his fade that started in December.
The thing I want to highlight though, is Dwight Powell. Powell shot three 3-pointers tonight, missing all of them. He’s now hitting 10-of-54 from three, less than 20 percent. Despite his shooting causing blindness, he’s averaging a career-high 1.5 three point attempts per game. This is not optimal! As I’ve written a handful of times, Powell turned himself into a good and useful player by becoming one of the NBA’s elite rim-runners.
Now he’s shooting almost two threes a game and it seems to be jacking with what made him good. Powell shot 48.8 percent from the floor in December, far below the numbers he should be putting up by being a pick and roll, rim-running big. The Mavs need to shut off the green light. No more threes!
Oh my god Dirk is retiring
This wasn’t going to be my final point, but as I was typing this, something incredibly depressing happened as the Boston crowd started to cheer for Dirk to score like he was a student-manager getting to play in the last game of the season.
Dirk put up a lot of shots in the final minutes and he missed all of them. Most of 10 shots he took tonight were open and he clanked them all. After each crowd roar and bricked jumper, it became all the more real that Dirk is leaving us extremely soon and that life is pointless and everyone dies.
It was much easier to block off Dirk’s retirement when he was canning triples at a 40 percent clip and still being an effective player. This sudden farewell tour moment hit me like a ton of bricks. Father time is undefeated and true happiness is a lie.