As the start of December rolls around, the Dallas Mavericks anticipate closing out the 2017 year by continuing their mid-season recovery. While they still sit at the bottom of the Western conference with their current 6-17 record, they have at least closed the gap in terms of games behind (12.0 GB first place now) the rest of the competition. They have been more consistent in staying in games and closing some of those out with the W. In the past week though, the Mavericks have struggled in a couple close losses. However, a win was in store for the team to close out the week on a high note on Saturday afternoon.
On Monday the Mavericks went on the road to visit the San Antonio Spurs. In a high scoring 115-108 affair, the Mavericks weren’t able to keep up with legendary coach Gregg Popovich’s maximum team-oriented high volume offense. The Spurs got great results from their paint production for the contest, as LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with 33 points & 10 rebounds and Pau Gasol followed with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists of his own. Aldridge has really stepped it up as the team’s go-to weapon during Kawhi Leonard’s absence. Young PF Kyle Anderson also got his fill with 12 points and 10 rebounds. San Antonio absolutely out-bigged Dallas, as no one on the Mavericks even surpassed 8 rebounds (that team-high credit to Harrison Barnes). Guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Wesley Matthews both led the team with 19 points. While the team didn’t have much going in their favor stat-wise on the night, having 7 players in double figures for points was really uplifting for this team still on the rebound, even though it was against a team missing its key superstar.
Dallas packed their bags to return home for a Wednesday night contest against the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately for the Mavs, they weren’t able to fully show out as they ended up losing in a close 109-104 matchup. Dallas’ lack of perimeter defense led to their demise in this one, as Nets’ leading scorer DeMarre Carroll shot nearly 60% from beyond the arc in his 22-point performance. Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 17 points along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists, and all-around impressive performance from the continuously blooming forward. Rookie star Dennis Smith Jr. really struggled on this night with only 10 points on 3-11 shooting. He also only had a hand in 3 assists and had a team-worst plus/minus of -10. This is understandably a bit concerning, considering this was still achieved in his limited 25 minutes, but Smith and the rest of the team knew a bounceback was necessary after this mediocre outing.
Dallas succeeded in such on the weekend when they faced the Clippers on Saturday afternoon in a dominant victory for coach Rick Carlisle’s 700th career win. Quickly ending their two game skid after previously winning 3 of their last 4, the Mavericks completely controlled the ever-tumbling Clippers in a 108-82 rout. J.J. Barea led the Mavs with a team high 21 points on 8/12 shooting, and even managed to score a double-double as he followed that up with 10 assists in what was easily his standout performance of the season so far. Dirk Nowitzki was lights out from beyond the arc as he made 5-5 three pointers in his efficient 16-point night. Lou Williams led the Clippers in scoring with 18, however this was done in a bad 4/16 shooting, showing just how much L.A. struggled in this game. Even though the Mavericks had some troubles in the game with 17 turnovers (as opposed to Los Angeles’ 11), they led in nearly every other team stat in this home romping; a good way to end the week.
After quickly rebound from a short dent in their full on season-saving effort, the Mavericks will continue to try and stay hot with some tough matchups ahead, as the race for the All-Star break begins.
Mon 12/4 vs Nuggets
Wed 12/6 @ Celtics
Fri 12/8 @ Bucks
Sun 12/10 @ Timberwolves