Dallas Mavericks: Fighting the Good Fight

Dirk Nowitzki put up 23 points against the Pelicans in a losing effort on Sunday night. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Watching the Mavs at Big Shucks is always a slam dunk!

By Joel Montgomery

After what was probably the worst week for the franchise through the lens of the broad scope of the league since their woes of the early 90’s, the Dallas Mavericks looked to bounce back after recent on-court struggles have plummeted the team to a guaranteed shot at a great draft pick, as well as Cuban’s endurance of the media firestorm that followed last week’s exposure of the team’s now former president Terdema Ussery’s misconduct allegations. Not only that, but the controversy of Cuban’s public comments regarding his wish for the team to intentionally tank. All of this has shaped up to be quite an ugly season in what was supposed to be a celebration of Dirk Nowitzki’s 20th season with the team. But despite all the recent turmoil, Nowitzki and the rest of the players still trudge on with as much as they can do in this entire nightmarish, and discouraging situation.

Vs. Pacers (2/26)
Dallas opened the week by hosting Indiana, who has been a surprise team in the Eastern Conference this season and is right in there for the playoff race. Despite their momentum coming in, the Pacers ultimately couldn’t keep up with the Mavericks in a game that started like your average contest, but turned into an offensive slugfest in the 4th quarter, with a combined 79 points accumulated by both squads during the period. The Pacers were led by Myles Turner’s 24 point, 11 rebound double-double. The Mavs’ offense was primarily ran through marquis scorer Harrison Barnes and hardy vet J.J. Barea, scoring 21 and 19 points respectively. New acquisition Doug McDermott finally managed to make some noise with his new team, notching 15 points of his own.

FINAL: Dallas 109, Indiana 103

Vs. Thunder (2/28)
On Wednesday night, Dirk achieved another milestone in NBA history by crossing the 31,000 point mark in a heated matchup against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that’s desperate to stay in the higher tier of the Western conference. It was quite the game to do so in, as it turned out to be quite the contest when all was said and done. In a battle that went into overtime, OKC just managed to edge out the Mavs in this close one. The Thunder were led by superstar Russell Westbrook’s 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists (It’s never really a surprise to see him with this kind of stat line…), as well as Paul George’s impressive 23 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. In this particularly surprising career year (stat-wise) for the star with a player option at the end of this season, it’s hard to imagine him being eager to leave his new tag team partner Russ so quickly. Dallas was led by Barnes’ 26 points. Dirk finished with 12 points in the milestone night.

FINAL(OT): Oklahoma City 111, Dallas 110

@ Bulls (3/2)
The trend for the Mavericks this season has usually been to play either up or down to competition, depending on opponent. The trend continued against the Bulls, where right after playing two impressively competitive games against playoff-caliber teams, Dallas failed to make any significant noise offensively against a fellow rebuilding franchise in Chicago. Even though the Mavs had not-too-shabby 1st and 3rd quarters, they were abysmal in both the 2nd and 4th, where they failed to cross 20 points in both periods (17 and 15 respectively). They were led by Barnes’ 26 points and Dennis Smith Jr’s 25. The Bulls really managed to spread the ball around in their win, with 4 players with 16 or more points. Chicago’s young stars shined, with rookie prodigy Lauri Markkanen scoring 17 points and nabbing 12 rebounds, as well as an impressive line by young rising-star Kris Dunn’s 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. 

FINAL: Chicago 108, Dallas 100

Vs. Pelicans (3/4)
Even though they’ve been dealing with the loss of star center DeMarcus Cousins due to season ending injury, the Pelicans have been rolling as of late, with seven straight wins coming into this game. Anthony Davis has taken kindly to the shift back to him being the solo driving force of this team still vying to push for the postseason despite Cousins’ absence. He dominated the paint in this easy road win, with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Even Chieck Diallo got in on the big man bullying, with 13 points and 15 rebounds of his own. As long as the Mavs hold this team composition, they can expect teams with significant paint presences to wreak havoc on their defense consistently. Offensively, Jrue Holliday actually led New Orleans in scoring with his 30 points on 12-19 shooting, a rare offensive burst for the point guard. If he manages to keep even a portion of this offensive firepower, he’ll surely be a helpful asset to Davis as they fight for a playoff spot in the last leg of the season. Dallas was led offensively by 23-point performances by both DSJ and Dirk. In a season like this, it’s always nice to see Nowitzki at the top of the team’s box score. 

FINAL: New Orleans 126, Dallas 109

Now at a 19-45 record on the season, the whole Mavericks’ organization just wants this all to be over so they can regroup and do some spring cleaning come the end of the season. The players continue to show fight in these matchups nightly though, which is a factor that should keep fans at least somewhat uplifted moving forward. Coming up this week, Dallas continues this brief 4-game home stand with some tough Western conference competition.

Upcoming Games
Tue. 3/6 vs Nuggets
Sat. 3/10 vs Grizzlies
Sun. 3/11 vs Rockets