Man the Mavs looked sluggish to begin the game. The Kings began the game on a 6-0 run as the Mavs missed their first 6 shots. And things got worse before they (eventually) got better. While the offense looked out of sync, the defense was just horrendous. No one wanted to rotate. Monta refused to ever pay attention to his guy floating around the arc until wide open for an easy three. No one seemed interested in closing out. And the fouls!
To be fair, the refs were really calling everything tonight. On both teams. This exacerbated the sluggishness, though the Mavs definitely suffered more than the Kings. Tyson, Monta, and Parsons all got into some foul trouble early, as did Derrick Williams and Boogie Cousins on the Sactown side of things.
The Mavs ended the quarter by playing defense for the first time all game, and then JJ drew a foul on the other end to cut the Kings lead to 32-14. Yes I said cut. Overall, the Mavs shot an embarrassing 23.5% in the first quarter and committed 5 turnovers.
The second quarter didn’t start off much better, but then Chandler Parsons and Dirk stopped screwing around. There was a clear difference in Parsons, like he just flipped a switch. He was suddenly feisty and aggressive where he had previously been ultra hesitant. He and Dirk (and to a lesser extent Harris and Wright) really keyed a huge comeback bid. Dirk drilled a three in the final minute of the 2nd to cut the lead to 6, but the Kings answered and took a 57-48 lead into the locker room. Dirk had 11 points and 5 rebounds at half. Monta, on the other hand, scored a whopping zero points. It was a really weird half.
Dirk was feeling it to start the third, scoring the Mavs’ first 4 points to get within a bucket of Olajuwan on the all-time scoring list. But then he missed an open three that would’ve moved him into 9th on the list, because you know, Dirk loves drama.
Monta finally scored halfway through the third, on a quasi-fast break drive to the basket to cut the lead to 1. He then proceeded to make up for his lackluster first half by having it all, scoring 5 straight as the Mavs finally took the lead for the first time in the game. He also hit a crazy 3-point buzzer beater to end the half.
Also, Brandan Wright is the great destroyer. Seriously dude is awesome and amazing and everyone should love him.
The basketball gods conspired to force Dirk to miss several shots in the third, but he finally passed Olajuwon at the 8:54 mark in the 4th quarter. And he wasn’t finished either. Dirk finished the night with 23 points on 7 of 12 shooting.
Ultimately, the Mavs rebounded from a massively depressing first quarter. The scraped and clawed their way back into the game. Dirk made history. And your Mavs won the game.
1. Dirk is a treasure.
On the same night that Kobe made some less prestigious history, Dirk moved past Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Dirk is now 9th, and should move up to 7th by the end of the season.
2. Parsons finally broke out of his slump (mostly).
Chandler Parsons started the game off slow, but finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Not great numbers, but still a clear improvement from the past 2 or 3 games. It seems like Parsons’s issues are largely mental. When he is hesitant, he misses a lot. When he is aggressive, not so much. Dude just needs to build his confidence at this point. Hopefully he will build off of tonight’s performance.
3. The Mavs can play defense.
Which makes it all the more frustrating when they are so so so bad on that end for massive swaths of games. In the second half, the Mavs just gave so much effort. Rotations were on time. People were going for blocks and steals. Chandler and Aminu together produce particularly great defensive lineups. It was so much fun to watch. So why the hell won’t the Mavs give even half that effort on most nights?