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5 thoughts after the Mavericks fall to the Clippers, 99-97

A tough way to close out a home stand

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks fell at home to the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night, 99-97. Reggie Jackson once again proved a Maverick killer, scoring 24 to lead Los Angeles. Luka Doncic did not get enough help from his teammates again, after scoring 45 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and dishing eight assists.

The game opened with fewer fireworks than the Thursday match up, with the Clippers unable to hit an outside shot and Luka Doncic unable to finish many buckets himself. Dallas found themselves ahead 26-23 after a grindy first quarter. With Doncic on the bench to start the second quarter, the Clippers jumped out ahead with a 7-0 run. The Mavericks worked themselves back into the lead but poor rim protection resulted in Dallas being down by one at the half trailing 49-48.

A sloppy third quarter plagued the Mavericks, as Dallas spent more time complaining to the refs than competing against the Clippers. Late double teams plagued Luka Doncic, who had repeated turnovers and after twelve more minutes of basketball, Dallas found themselves down 70-67. The fourth saw the Mavericks get down by double digits as they just couldn’t find stops on one end and points on the other. But following a scuffle involving Doncic and Terance Mann, Luka scored 15 points to bring the Mavericks all the way back, but he missed a last second three point jumper and Dallas fell at home to the Clippers, 99-97.

Now, some thoughts

Four bench points? Seriously?

There was some very direct talk from Dallas General Manager Nico Harrison about the Mavericks being “done” on Thursday, implying they weren’t interested in the buy out market. I understand Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans are expected to help but that expectation is based on faith more than reality (check Dinwiddie’s February stats if you think I’m being an ass for fun).

Four bench points is abhorrent. And each was a driving lay up, one from Frank Ntilikina, the other from Josh Green. Those two players shot a remarkable 2 of 11 while also being a -13 each on their time on the floor. Maxi Kleber couldn’t hit any of the three wide open jumpers he was served and Trey Burke played just two minutes before getting hurt.

What a gross effort from the bench in a game where Luka Doncic did all that he could.

Points in the paint

One area where the now departed Kristaps Porzingis helped the Mavericks a ton this year was at the rim. Now the Mavericks are essentially a 7/11 when it comes to allowing points in the painted area. The Clippers scored 54 of their 99 points right there. Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell aren’t going to cut it. I know that may shock those of you who’ve watched this team since the pre-pandemic era.

Dorian Finney-Smith needs to do more

I’m loathe to criticize Dorian, who’s recent signing of a four year $55 million extension is an incredible story, but he was absolutely awful tonight. He finished with a +14, sure, but also took just four shots, hit one, and grabbed only two rebounds while also turning the ball over twice.

One of the main, constant criticisms of Finney-Smith in the lead up to the extension is that he doesn’t score enough. With Porzingis gone, someone has to chip in a little more.

Three point shooting has to get better from role players

Luka Doncic and Reggie Bullock hit 11 of the Dallas 15 threes. They also took 23. That means the other Mavericks hit just 4 of 16 threes. Gross guys. Hit a shot already, most of these looks are wide open. It’s getting ridiculous.

(Kirk’s note: it’s the next morning and I’m somehow just now noticing that Brunson hit 4-7, whoops!)

Luka has now scored 96 of the last 207 Dallas points

Just going to let that one linger.

Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.