The Dallas Mavericks fell to the New York Knicks tonight after a painful second half offensively.
The Mavs dropped to an abysmal 2-7 to start the season after their latest loss to the now four-win Knicks by a final tally of 93-77. Carmelo Anthony struggled in the first half, but delivered a strong second half performance which included outscoring the Mavs personally 17-12 in the third quarter. A lineup of Seth Curry, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dwight Powell and J.J. Barea simply failed to put up anywhere near enough points to keep up with a solid offensive team.
The Mavs’ youth movement this offseason may have helped Dallas in the long term, but Harrison Barnes is simply the Mavs’ only viable scoring option with Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, and Devin Harris sidelined.
Last season, Rick Carlisle managed to provide Nowitzki with lots of offensive help with Chandler Parsons, Raymond Felton and David Lee. This time around, the Mavs are significantly worse offensively.
Lacking shot creators, the Mavs looked stagnant Monday night, frequently throwing up contested shots late in the shot clock. Already a poor shooting team, the Mavs were forced to keep Nicolas Brussino on the roster in an effort to retain at least one viable outside shooter on the bench other than Seth Curry, who hasn’t exactly been shooting like his brother yet this season.
Further complicating issues for the Mavs is being dead-last in the league in free throw attempts. Attempting just eleven against New York, the Mavs dug a deeper hole for an already sinking offense.
Desperately needing Dirk Nowitzki’s return, it will be up to Rick Carlisle and his experienced coaching staff to come up with an at least average offense before Dallas plummets further in the Western Conference standings.
Part of the optimism for the Mavs heading into the season was being able to field an impressive defense each night. Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut have each had great defensive performances over the courses of their careers, but collectively, the Mavs are not getting the desperate stops they need to make up for their awful offense.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavs in scoring yet again, notching twenty points, continuing his outstanding start to this season. Now sitting at just 2-7, the Mavs are inching closer and closer to the point where they need to prioritize turning Harrison Barnes into the franchise’s cornerstone going forward, rather than focusing on stealing the eighth seed and first-round playoff exit.