The Dallas Mavericks dropped the second night of a back-to-back to the New Orleans Pelicans, 113-106, Wednesday night in New Orleans. Kyrie Irving led Dallas with 27 points, while CJ McCollum led all scorers with 32.
This was a crappy game to watch for the most part, as Dallas entered the game missing key players Reggie Bullock and Maxi Kleber due to injury. To make matters worse, Luka Doncic left the third quarter thanks to his nagging thigh injury. Thankfully the Mavericks finally found a lineup that worked in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late as the Pelicans couldn’t throw away their nearly 20 point lead established in the third quarter.
Let’s get to the stats.
10: Three pointers made by the Mavericks in the fourth quarter
Dallas went molten lava hot in the final frame, shooting 10-of-18 from three in the final frame. The Mavericks had four players each make at least two three pointers, with Tim Hardaway Jr. leading the pack with three. Irving, Davis Bertans and rookie Jaden Hardy each made two threes.
It was a spectacularly fun fourth quarter, where the Mavericks dropped 40 points behind an all-offense supercharged lineup. After languishing through the first three quarters trying to find some defense, coach Jason Kidd finally relented with a lineup of Irving, Hardy, Hardaway, Bertans, and Christian Wood. The all-offense almost worked, but McCollum had a wild fourth quarter of his own, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
15: Combined minutes for Frank Ntilikina, Theo Pinson, and Markieff Morris
Each one of Ntilikina, Pinson, and Morris were negative on the night, a collective minus-27 in those 15 minutes. They weren’t the reason the Mavericks lost the game, but those minutes sure didn’t help in what ended up being a seven point loss.
The major problem is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how those minutes are going to go for those players. Morris was out of shape when he got to Dallas and was already out of the rotation for a Brooklyn team that actually needed big man depth. Ntilikina and Pinson haven’t done much all season. Kidd is a defensive minded coach, and it’s obvious he’s trying to do whatever he can to find a lineup that can get some stops, but he needs to confront the terrifying truth: this Mavericks team isn’t equipped to get stops. Once Kidd leaned into all-offense, the Mavericks finally made a push. It was just too late.
3: Points for Josh Green
The Mavericks third year forward was at one point the best story on the team. Slowly working his way into the rotation and earning more trust of the coaching staff, Green exploded in February with a career month — 13.6 points per game on 53.7 percent shooting and 40.4 percent from three.
From the start of February till Feb. 11, Green scored in double figures for six straight games, including a 29 point game against Utah with the Mavericks shorthanded after the Irving trade, and then 23 points in an overtime loss to the Kings. Since that 23 point game, Green has scored in double-figures just once in nine games. Green has scored 15 points total in four games in March.
Somehow the third year player has hit the rookie wall. Green scored three points against the Pelicans, and while his energy and defense hasn’t dipped too harshly, Green’s expanded and surprising offense has gone ice cold. Green shouldn’t be expected to score double-figures every night at this point of his career, but that brief run in February perhaps got all of our expectations slightly out of whack. With the Mavericks down Bullock, Kleber, and then eventually Luka, it would have been cool to see Green pick up some of the missing scoring. He didn’t, but it’s not the end of the world.
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