The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Houston Rockets tonight despite a new career high from Harrison Barnes in points. Not having Dirk Nowitzki always has its side effects.
The Dallas Mavericks faced off against the Houston Rockets tonight in the first home game of the season. After a devastating overtime loss to one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference (and the league), Dallas was looking for a big bounce back game against the interstate rivals in Houston.
Most of the game went back and forth between the teams as there were 19 lead changes and 9 ties through the first three quarters. The Mavs were never really able to pull away from the Rockets at any point while Houston jumped out to a 10-point advantage at the end of the 3rd.
Dallas had a rough night shooting, especially behind the arc, going an atrocious 8-29. The defense for Dallas looked good in a lot of situations, but in the end we just couldn’t figure it out when needed.
The Mavs eventually fell to the Rockets 106-98 after falling apart in the 4th quarter. Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 31 points while Trevor Ariza led the Rockets with 27, including 5-7 from behind the arc. Here are three takeaways from the game.
Harrison Barnes is figuring it out
The Dallas Mavericks were led in scoring by Barnes and he played like the best player for Dallas all night. This included 10-19 shooting overall and 2-4 from behind the arc. If Dallas could’ve gotten this same production from everyone, we would have won easily.
Harrison Barnes is quickly becoming the player Dallas wanted him to be, scoring in a variety of ways and still able to play excellent defense on the other end. He proved time and time again that he really is a matchup nightmare for the other team. If we can get matched production from the other wing, the losing streak will end soon.
Keep your eyes out for Harrison during the whole season. He really is just scratching the surface of his potential and capabilities. His shooting will continue to improve and, with the ball in his hands way more than he is used to, his ball handling will improve as well.
We can’t use injury as an excuse for Wesley Matthews anymore
The Mavs are definitely more focused on the defensive end of the court this year, which gives Matthews a lot of value on the court as always. However, that value that he brings was diminished all last season as he struggled finding the shooting stroke that has made him such a great player in the league.
This season has started out even uglier than last year with Matthews shooting a putrid 3-18 from behind the arc so far this season. 2-10 and 1-8 are really not allowed for a 3-D guy. It is half of his responsibility on the court. Not to mention a lot of the shots are wide open.
Don’t give up on Matthews just yet. Sure, it has been bad. There is no denying that. But, Matthews has shown the league for years prior to coming to Dallas that his shot can be a force on the court. He just needs to find it again.
The young fellas are looking pretty good
Aside from Harrison Barnes, the Mavs have some youth on the team that is looking like they are capable of contributing night after night for the team. Justin Anderson is an absolute athletic specimen and it is clear no matter who else is on the court. He will be a great player for Dallas.
Seth Curry also got a chance to spread his wings a little bit tonight, recording 20 minutes of game time, including a majority of the 4th quarter. He and Anderson combined for 17 points off the bench and brought some life to the team when scoring was not happening.
Even in the late minutes, the Mavs rolled out all their youngsters as the game got out of hand. Nicolas Brussino recorded the first points of his NBA career on a pair of free throws, and Salah Mejri got his first bucket of the season on a short jumper. Dorian Finney-Smith and A.J. Hammons also made their NBA debut tonight in the final minutes of the game.
The Dallas Mavericks were without Dirk tonight and struggled to get things going offensively. We expect Dirk back very soon but it is still a difficult loss to swallow for Dallas. The Mavs will look for redemption on Sunday when we travel down to Houston for another matchup against the Rockets.