Dallas Mavericks: Looking to Keep their Momentum

Dennis Smith Jr. (l) and Wesley Matthews (r) have the Mavericks heading in the right direction.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Joel Montgomery

After winning 7 of their last 9 games, the Dallas Mavericks have started this season off extremely strong– a big difference from just a year prior. With the new pieces meshing well with the team veterans, the squad is looking quite formidable as they approach the real meat of the NBA season. With a slew of Western Conference matchups on the way to the holidays, Dallas looks to keep their momentum:
@ Houston Rockets (11/28)
On Wednesday night Dallas took on their in-state rival Houston Rockets, who have been struggling to find themselves since losing their 3-2 lead to Golden State in last year’s Western Conference Finals. They’ve been trying to stay afloat, hovering around .500, looking to knock off the rolling Mavs.
However, they couldn’t stop Dallas’ offense from having its highest scoring game of the season. The team caught fire from all around, with 10 guys getting on the board, and 7 hitting double-digit points. Luka Doncic continued his ROTY campaign with a 20-point performance, a total that was matched by teammate and long-time Mavs veteran Devin Harris. J.J. Barea swung the rock around with his 13 points and 12 assists. Doncic has already clearly proved he can lead the team in dominant victories over notable teams, alongside his experienced peers.
FINAL: Dallas 128, Houston 108
@ Los Angeles Lakers (11/30)
Friday night in primetime, Dallas got another crack at LeBron and the Lakers, who have been on the rise since their slow start. With both teams on the up trend, the matchup became highly anticipated.
In the end, LA surged late by posting a 36-point fourth quarter on their way to the 114-103 win. LeBron took control and finished with 28 points. Kyle Kuzma and Tyson Chandler both attained double-doubles.
By looking at the box score, one could think Doncic didn’t do much and perhaps was starstruck against his hero in James, but Luka was subjected to more of a support role early, when Dallas popped off to a 10-point lead after the first quarter. Things stayed that way for the remainder of the contest, and Doncic even got a highlight-worthy defensive play on LeBron, blocking the 6’8″, 260 lb forward’s shot twice in the same play.
Harrison Barnes led the Lakers offensively with 29 points, in another impressive scoring barrage for the fully-reintegrated Barnes. Dwight Powell finally had a breakout game with 17 points and 7 boards.
FINAL: Los Angeles (L) 114, Dallas 103
vs Los Angeles Clippers (12/2)
The Mavs came back home and ran into a mighty test against a Clippers team that has started the season unexpectedly great. They sat at the top seed of the Western Conference before this Sunday night contest, proving to be a formidable match for Dallas.
The contest started out high-scoring, with 69 total points scored in the 1st quarter. The Clippers ended up with 3 players hitting the 20+ point mark. Montrezl Harrell led them with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Dallas had some great performances from their experienced veterans, as they carried the load for this statement win. Harrison Barnes’ 30 points led the charge, and J.J. had 24 points of his own. DeAndre Jordan finished with 16 points and a ridiculous 23 rebounds. In his first matchup against his former team, Jordan showed that he still brings a lot to the table and his comfortable right where he is in Dallas (phew, finally).
Even with the hardy vets shining in this game, the penultimate play that decided the win was caused by Dennis Smith Jr, whose clutch shot block in the final minute of the game ended up sealing the game for the Mavericks. A heads-up, clutch play for the NBA sophomore.
FINAL: Dallas 114, Los Angeles (C) 110
Despite their winning streak being snapped, the Mavs still ended up happy after a winning record for the week. They continue their interconference tour for the month against some solid competition coming up.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
12/4 vs Trail Blazers   7:30 p.m.
12/5  @ Pelicans          7:00 p.m.
12/8 vs Rockets           5:00 p.m.