The Monday NBA night cap featured our Dallas Mavericks visiting the Los Angeles Clippers, where they fell 121-112. Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers off the bench, pouring in a career high 32 points in just 29 minutes. Luka Doncic had his third career triple double with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in defeat.
The entire game was an up and down affair with neither team taking a commanding lead throughout the game. After an uneven first quarter, Harrell had two dunks to finish the quarter, giving the Clippers a 29-22 lead. Dallas jumped right back in it and despite some messy ball handling from the Mavericks, mostly kept pace with Los Angeles. The Clippers took a 63-57 lead into the second half.
The Mavericks briefly took a third quarter lead midway through the frame, with a Dwight Powell drive and dish to Dirk Nowitzki for three. The Clippers answered back though and carried a 91-88 lead into the final frame. Montrezl Harrell continued his dunking dominance in the fourth, which allowed LA to expand their lead during parts of the fourth. The Mavericks pulled within two midway through the quarter, but it was not to be. Dallas turned the ball over a number of times down the stretch and the Clippers capitalized on those mistakes and won 121-112.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
Luka Doncic had a career high nine turnovers and Tim Hardaway contributed six of his own. Despite the pair pouring on 48 points on just 14 field goals, their 15 turnovers were the key factor in the Dallas loss.
To be honest, I don’t remember Hardaway’s miscues, largely because I remember his “no! no! YES” shot selection. But with Doncic, for a guy capable of threading the needle on so many crazy looks, both above and below the rim, this many turnovers is terrible. His ninth was a pass to a shuffling Dirk’s back near the corner, which is simply unacceptable.
Doncic’s play style will mean dealing with turnover prone games like this, but he also must learn how to deal with blitzing defenses on the pick and roll. Despite the triple double achievement, this was one where Luka left a lot on the table.
Montrezl Harrell, wrecking ball
In 2015 while in Las Vegas for Summer League, I covered the Rockets as a favor. I wrote about a young wrecking ball named Montrezl Harrell and had this to say:
Harrell was all over the court, getting a tip dunk, a chase down strip, a number of strong post ups and working his butt off on the glass.... It’s hard to say which of these skills projects at the next level, but his 7’4” wingspan and willingness to do dirty work leads me to believe he’ll end up getting minutes at some point if Houston needs him.
Giving up a career high to a bench guy is bad on it’s own, but that it was for 32 freaking points is maddening. Harrell’s perhaps not the most skilled guy, but playing as hard as he does is certainly valuable. The Clippers are lucky to have him one more year at a bargain rate.
Dwight Powell scoring a career high
That Harrell also scored a career high, mostly on Powell, dims this achievement just so, but it’s still worth discussing. Rim rolling as well as Powell does is often an act of faith. He has to trust that he’ll have opportunities to score and it’s impressive his connection with J.J. Barea has transferred over to Luka Doncic. Powell doesn’t have good defensive instincts but he makes up for that just like Harrell does, by playing really hard.
Classy move, Doc Rivers
This happened, in case you went to bed early:
Doc Rivers grabs the PA microphone with 9.4 seconds left and basically tells the crowd to give Dirk a standing ovation. “Let’s go! Let’s go! One of the greatest of all-time, Dirk Nowitzki!”— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 26, 2019
Fox Sports also captured the very cool moment:
The Mavericks next play Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers.