Dallas Mavericks: Starting to Turn the Season Around

With his performance against the Thunder last Saturday night, it looks like Dirk Nowitzki still has a little gas left in the tank. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
With his performance against the Thunder last Saturday night, it looks like Dirk Nowitzki still has a little gas left in the tank. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
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By Joel Montgomery

After a very stuffing holiday week, the Dallas Mavericks pull out of the last leg of November with a lot more fight than the struggling start that stuck them at the bottom of the power rankings to begin the season. With some matchups against some of the upper echelon of the League’s individual talent with these opponents, Dallas refused to waiver with a pair of wins and a close overtime loss. The team is finally starting to truly recover after their abysmal 2-14 start.

Against the Boston Celtics on Monday, the game needed extra minutes to decide the outcome in an overtime bout. With their winning streak on the line however, the Celtics were able to pull through in the end with a 110-102 victory. Kyrie Irving led Boston with a whopping 47 points, showing us flashes of the Uncle Drew we got accustomed to seeing light it up offensively in Cleveland. While Irving has stepped it up in pretty much every facet of his game with his new team, it’s relieving for Celtics fans to see that his ability to fill that box score hasn’t faltered. Young Celtics rising stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum brought it home with 22 points and 15 points respectively. As for Dallas, rookie Dennis Smith Jr. was really quiet on the night with his 8 points in 27 minutes. His minute limitation contributes to his low volume in the offense, however his time on the bench is still time spent learning and developing, as coach Carlisle has detailed in the past. Harrison Barnes led their output with 31 points and 6 rebounds in his 41 minutes. This performance just further showed that Barnes is indeed able to carry a significant portion of this team’s offensive load and still be competitive, even against a top talent team like the Celtics.

Dallas fought in another close thriller in Memphis against the Grizzlies on Wednesday, only this time, they were able to pull out the win in this 95-94 contest. Barnes led the Mavs again with a 22-point performance to go along with 9 boards. DSJ had 17 points and J.J. Barea had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. The Mavericks really spread the ball around offensively, as they had 5 players in double figures for the game. Memphis had the same, as Tyreke Evans led them in points with 18. Even though Dallas wasn’t able to surpass 100 points (which has been a struggle, we know), it mattered naught in this nail-biter as Dallas came through in the end.

On Saturday night, the Mavericks hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a… well… unexpected result, the Mavericks won handily in a 97-81 romping of Russell Westbrook and company. The Mavericks took advantage of the Thunder’s offensive struggles and completely controlled this contest. Dirk led Dallas with 19 points on 7/10 shooting, a very efficient night for the Hall of Famer in now rare points-leading nights. Westbrook had a near triple-double for OKC with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists on the night. He was the only driving force for the Thunder in this game, something the team wanted to avoid from last season with their off-season moves. While Carmelo Anthony had an average game with 16 points on 50% shooting, Paul George was completely absent from the team’s scoring with only 2 points on an abysmal 1-12 from the field. While he did have 6 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with his low scoring, his -16 plus/minus shows he was a huge offensive liability for the Thunder in this game. If the team wants to make a serious run at the end of the season, they still have a lot of kinks to workout with not just their unsatisfactory bench, but also the consistency of their biggest pieces.

Overall in this hard fought week of games, the Dallas Mavericks look forward with a 5-15 record that looks a lot better than the 2-14 they were stuck with just a few days prior. As they approach Christmas time (when many say the season truly begins), the team will hope to keep improving as they look to try and flip their season around.

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
11/27   @Spurs         7:30 p.m.
11/29   vs Nets          7:30 p.m.
12/2     vs Clippers    1:00 p.m.