Dallas Mavericks: Season NOT so Delightful

Dallas Mavericks fans want to see guard Dennis Smith Jr. back in action as soon as possible. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Dallas Mavericks fans want to see guard Dennis Smith Jr. back in action as soon as possible.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
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By Joel Montgomery

The Dallas Mavericks come into the month of December in last place in the Western Conference. With a close to their home stand to start the month off, they then took a mini road trip hoping to knock some teams off on the way and improve their record bit-by-bit.

The Mavericks finished their 3-game home stand against the Denver, hoping to to at least be successful in 2/3 of the stretch. In a resounding 122-105 victory, the Mavericks overall had a very solid game in this dominant win over a considerable Western Conference adversary. The Nuggets (currently 5th place in the West) had some really good performances from some of their better role players in Will Barton (22 points), Jamal Murray (22) and Gary Harris (21). However, they really missed their superstar in versatile big man Nikola Jokic, as well as their marquee offseason acquisition in Paul Millsap, who both were out due to injury. Emmanuel Mudiay struggled to pull the load as the one star out there for Denver, with only 5 points and 3 assists in his 16 minutes of playing time. The Mavericks on the other hand had their biggest pieces healthy and performing grandly, with Harrison Barnes scoring 22 along with grabbing 10 rebounds, while Dennis Smith Jr continues to improve the consistency of his excellence with 20 points and 5 rebounds of his own. He played 31 minutes in this game, which is a slight step up from his average up to this point. Hopefully Smith will continue to integrate himself into Dallas’ overall scheme and system.

On Wednesday the Mavericks started a 3-game road trip with a visit to the TD Garden to face the Celtics who continue to surge with their top record in the Eastern conference (22-4). In a game where Dallas struggled just to get to 90 points, they only scored 33 total points in the second half, which contributed greatly to their loss in the end. Barnes led the struggling offense with 19 points to go along with his 7 boards. The backcourt really struggled in this game, as only Smith Jr was able to surpass double figures in that unit. As for Boston, while Kyrie Irving didn’t explode as much as he did last time these two teams met, he was still able to lead the Celtics with 23 points along with 5 assists. Jayson Tatum and Al Horford both followed with 17 points, and both dominated the boards for rebounding supremacy. This field has been a problem for the Mavericks all season, and much beyond that in the past. The Celtics continue to surge as they continue their season that on paper runs near-completely perpendicular to Dallas’.

The Mavs traveled to Milwaukee on Friday night where they caught rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo at the wrong place at the wrong time in this 109-102 loss, as the Greek Freak performed handily with 27 points and 11 rebounds, including some monster, impossibly-far dunk flights. The young man is special, and continues to show the League why he will be a dominating force for years to come. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 31 points, and has been steadily getting back into the groove of being a vital part of this team’s offensive volume and overall success. Wesley Matthews led the Mavericks with 29 points on 73% shooting, including 5-7 from behind the arc. While he had one of his more emphatic performances of the season and his overall tenure in Dallas, the rest of the team just couldn’t get it going offensively enough to keep up with the Bucks, a young team with near-unlimited potential looking for a claim in the Eastern conference’s reign after the King steps down.

On Sunday night the Mavericks went into Minnesota wanting to make amends for their struggles on this small road trip, hoping to pack their bags and head home with at least one W. However, Dallas wasn’t able to pull through in this 97-92 loss to the Timberwolves, despite some encouraging ball sharing and points-spreading among the team. Harrison Barnes led the team with 19 points, and while Dallas had 6 players in double figures for scoring on the night, they just weren’t able to keep up with the big stars of Minnesota; Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points along with 12 boards, dominating the paint in this contest. Jimmy Butler backed him up with an impressive line of his own, with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists on the night. While the Mavericks got good play out of their backcourt and have gotten consistently good results from young forward Maxi Kleber over the past handful of games, it just wasn’t enough to stop this aspiring T-Wolves team with big postseason dreams come Spring.

To close their small home stand and trying to stand ground with a handful of road matchups in a row, the Dallas Mavericks come out of this first week of December with some disappointment, as from their performances they still sit last place in the Western conference currently at 7-20 (so they still have an equal shot at this point with the other 2 worst teams in the league currently, both in the East). Hopefully the team can make some small holidays’ hopes and wishes come true with some more adept performances from the team overall.

Upcoming Games:
Tue 12/12 vs Spurs
Thu 12/14 @ Warriors
Sat 12/16 @ Spurs