The Dallas Mavericks lost 118-108 to the New Orleans Pelicans. It is easy to dismiss the loss because the Mavericks were missing Luka Doncic, Dereck Lively II, and Dante Exum but the Pelicans were missing CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Tre Murphy. The Mavericks still had Kyrie Irving so they still had a talent advantage. Unfortunately, they didn’t show up so that didn’t matter. Here are the things to know.
Consistency is key
The Mavericks were coming off of one of their best wins of the season against the New York Knicks without Doncic. The team fought hard to win against a more talented opponent. They turned around and lost to a less talented opponent tonight because they got out fought. No team is going to be perfect every night but the Mavericks are simply not good enough to fail to show up like they did tonight.
Grant Williams is a Grant Williams sized problem
Grant Williams was the Mavericks primary addition this off-season. He championed a defensive mindset and offered valuable shooting from all over the court. Unfortunately, what he theoretically offered has not been present in reality since the first seven games.
He is out of shape and that has resulted in him not being a viable NBA player. Tonight was more of the same as he scored zero points, collected one rebound and dished one assist. He did block a shot but the Mavericks were outscored by 16 points in his 14 minutes. The Mavericks simply have to figure out a solution and that might mean giving Williams some time off to become to get in shape.
Maxi Kleber returned
Kleber was not particularly good, but his return is a fantastic sign for the Mavericks. Kleber has struggled with health, but his return could potentially be a turning point for the Mavericks as he still offers an extremely versatile and valuable skill set. He missed both of his threes and did not record a block tonight, but having him back is still a huge positive.
Overall, this was a deeply disappointing game for a Mavericks team that simply has to be better.