Dallas Mavericks Continue to Improve

Harrison Barnes continues to improve on the court in points and rebounds this season. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Harrison Barnes continues to improve on the court in points and rebounds this season.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
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By Joel Montgomery

After beginning the new year on a 3-game losing streak, the Dallas Mavericks looked to rebound and put a positive spin on the start of their 2018 campaign on a short week. They begun on Wednesday in a 15-point cruise against the Orlando Magic. Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Smith led the Mavericks with 20 points each in the 115-99 rout. The team got some great output from their starters, as well as sixth man Yogi Ferrell, as all met the 15-point mark, showing that when this team spreads the ball, they’re bound for great success. Aaron Gordon led the struggling Magic with his 19 points, as the team has continued to tumble back to the despairs of reality ever since their anomalous, fantastic start.
On Wednesday the Mavericks traveled to Charlotte to face a Hornets team that has really under-performed, even in a significantly weaker Eastern conference. In this close battle, Dallas just managed to edge out the Hornets in their 115-111 victory. Harrison Barnes earned himself a double-double, leading the team with his 25 points and 11 rebounds. With Dennis Smith’s 22 and Dirk’s 19 really contributing to the offensive effort, it’s been apparent that these two can really feed off of each other’s success offensively. Smith couldn’t have a better mentor going forward, and things are going pretty nicely as he continues to learn and grow off the legendary German.

Early on Saturday afternoon the Mavericks were visited by the Los Angeles Lakers. This was both teams’ first encounter of the season, and in the aftermath of the debacle between Rick Carlisle and father of Lakers’ PG Lonzo Ball, LaVar, that commanded sports headlines over the past week. In this overtime bout, both teams fought close, but the Lakers managed to best the Mavs in the extra time in the 107-101 contest. Dennis Smith’s 23 points led the Mavericks, while Barnes and Wesley Matthews both notched 17. Two Lakers achieved double-doubles, with Julius Randle’s 23 points and 15 rebounds, alongside Kyle Kuzma’s 18 and 10 performance. Lonzo Ball’s 9 points may not have been much, but he’s much more effective elsewhere consistently, as he notched 7 rebounds and 7 assists as well as a steal. While his stat line never really screams quantity, the quality of play he brings to the team’s overall culture is tangible. Ever since his return from injury the team has really bounced back positively, especially after the chaos surrounding LaVar Ball and various coaches around the NBA including Dallas’ Carlisle.

Now at a 15-29 record on the regular season, the Mavericks inch closer and closer to the All Star weekend a month from now. They find themselves seven games out from a playoff seed, a spot greatly grounded within reach than the position the team was in not too long ago. As the team continues to improve o competitivenessn their play as a streamlined unit, they’ll try to build on the positive fortune they’ve been able to amass as of late.

Upcoming Games:
Tue 1/16 @ Nuggets
Sat 1/20 @ Trail Blazers
Mon 1/22 vs Wizards