Dallas Mavericks: Enduring a 3-game Skid

Wesley Matthews and the Dallas Mavericks continue to battle and show a lot of heart this season. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Wesley Matthews and the Dallas Mavericks continue to battle and show a lot of heart this season. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
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By Joel Montgomery

Over the past eventful week, the Dallas Mavericks have struggled and ended it on a 3-game losing streak, falling to a 13-28 record on the season. All three contests were close battles, but in the end Dallas couldn’t come through in the clutch in every one of those instances. Thankfully woes from these results were greatly lightened with the long awaited jersey retirement of former Maverick and now long-time Dallas Mavericks commentator for FOX Sports, Derek Harper.
On Wednesday the Mavericks hosted a healthy Golden State team who have been getting things together nicely since star PG Stephen Curry’s return to the lineup. With all weapons locked in, they’re obviously the most dangerous team to encounter in the league on any given night. However, despite being huge underdogs, the Mavericks held firm and stayed right there with the Warriors for the majority of the game. Dallas had seven players hit double figures in points, and overall got some great performances by their backcourt depth. In the end, it was Curry who nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer with two seconds left that sealed the close 125-122 win for Golden State. He led the Warriors with his 32 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists on the night. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant both had 25 points while Draymond Green punched in 18 of his own. Durant and Green dominated the boards with 12 and 11 rebounds respectively. Wesley Matthews led Dallas with 22 points, as he was locked in from three range going 7-10 from beyond the arc.

On Friday night, in town came the Chicago Bulls, who have recently hit a positive stride to counter their abysmal start to the season— similar to the Mavericks. After a not too shabby start to the game, including outscoring Chicago 35-23 in the third quarter, Dallas completely fell apart in the fourth. They allowed a whopping 47 points in the 4th, blowing their 8-point lead they had going into the period in the 127-124. Kris Dunn led the Bulls with 32, continuing to prove he was a good pickup from their big trade last season to reboot the franchise. Wesley Matthews once again led Dallas, this time with 24 points, and Harrison Barnes followed with 23 of his own.

On Sunday before their matchup against the New York Knicks, Rick Carlisle talked to the media and shared some very strong opinions about LaVar Ball, father of rookie Lakers PG Lonzo Ball who recently openly criticized Luke Walton.  “As president of the coaches association, I view the recent ESPN article as a disgrace, quite honestly,” said Carlisle in defense of Walton, “Luke Walton is a terrific, young coach who is bringing along a young team, and it’s a difficult task. If you don’t believe it, just ask me. We’re going through that now and went through that last year…” Carlisle was also upset with the platform ESPN was giving Ball with such comments. “…they should look at their sources and do a better job of determining whether they have any merit or any validity. Or are they just blowhard loudmouths?” Carlisle wasn’t hesitant in his stance on LaVar Ball for his gaudy antics. Given Carlisle’s position as head of the NBA’s Coaches Association, this could lead to Magic Johnson and the Lakers front office to think about confronting Ball about this issue sooner rather than later.

During that night’s game against New York was when the Mavericks honored former Dallas point guard and current sportscaster Derek Harper— permanently enshrining him into the Mavericks’ personal hall of fame. After some heartfelt words by some former teammates including Rolando Blackman and Patrick Ewing, and former coach Dick Motta as well as other loved ones, Harper’s #12 was lifted into the rafters to take it’s tangible place in the history of this franchise.

In the game itself, the Mavericks battled pretty equally against a Knicks squad who has formed much more of a team identity after the offseason departure of Carmelo Anthony led to the complete explosion of Kristaps Porzingis as the superstar of the team. He led New York with his 29 points alongside 8 rebounds in this close 100-96 win for the Knicks. The teams stayed pretty close throughout the contest, but the Mavericks’ slow start ultimately bit them hard in the end. They weren’t able to score in the game’s opening four minutes, and spent most of the game just trying to fight back. Despite a late rally, they couldn’t finish it off in the end after tying the game late. Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 25 points, while 5 others managed to score in double figures including a better than average night for center Salah Mejri (11 pts, 7 rebs).

Even though Dallas went on a 3-game skid over the past week, being that they were all close contests with two of which being against teams with about equal talent. The Golden State loss was about as close as you can get to a “good loss” in this league, especially for a team like the Mavericks who look for any positive enforcement they can apply to a season like this.

The Mavericks finish this 4-game home stand on Tuesday night, then get to look forward to some contests against some other young talent across the league, including Lonzo (and LaVar) Ball and the Lakers.

Upcoming Games:
Tue 1/9 vs Magic
Wed 1/10 @ Hornets
Sat 1/13 vs Lakers