The Dallas Mavericks were unable to hold off the high scoring Denver Nuggets after a tight contest ended in a 10-point loss. The Mavs fall again to a below .500 team.
The Mavs fell to the Nuggets in a shootout on Monday night, falling to a miserable 7-21 on the season. Nikola Jokic led the ruthless Nuggets attack, nearing a triple double with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists. Rick Carlisle had no answers from the opening tip for the Serbian center, as he torched Dwight Powell and A.J. Hammons wire-to-wire en route to a 117-107 win.
The Mavs were unable to build off their convincing twenty-point triumph over the Sacramento Kings against the Nuggets, but showed some progress on the offensive end. Through twenty-eight frustrating games, the Mavs offense has looked stagnant, hesitant, and downright poor. Lacking shot creators, the Mavs got a shot in the arm with the return of J.J. Barea, who has missed the last seventeen games due to injury.
Deron Williams did his part for the Mavs cause on Monday night, putting up twenty-three points while dishing out eight assists in somewhat of a turn-back-the-clock game for the veteran point guard. Harrison Barnes had another solid showing with nineteen points, but neither could help the helpless Mavs interior defense against Nikola Jokic.
Wesley Matthews‘ hot shooting has tailed off, but his health finally appears to be 100% after his devastating achilles injury he suffered while a member of the Portland Trailblazers, the Mavs’ next opponent.
Looking forward for the Mavs, it is difficult to find too much optimism. While Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle will continue to vehemently discourage any form of tanking, it is extremely difficult to see a pathway to the playoffs for the Mavs.
While the season is appearing to be a wash, there are certainly several bright spots for the team moving forward. Harrison Barnes appears ready to be a focal point of the team moving forward, and bench players like Dorian Finney-Smith and Seth Curry appear to be keepers moving forward as valuable contributors to an otherwise lifeless bench.