The Dallas Mavericks took on the streaking Atlanta Hawks, yet the lost their second in a row in disappointing fashion despite having a fully healthy roster.
The Atlanta Hawks came into this game on a 5 game winning streak, and Dallas following a bad loss to the under-performing Phoenix Suns. Both teams had a lot on the line, however the Mavericks especially needed a win as they finished their 3 game homestead while trying to crawl out of the Western Conference’s basement.
Interestingly, Dallas elected to start both Andrew Bogut and Dirk Nowitzki, despite the recent drama about not playing them together for defensive reasons. Also, this was the first game in what seems like an eternity where the entire Mavs roster was healthy and active, with the return of J.J. Barea.
Out of the gates both teams looked locked in on the defensive side of the floor, forcing tough looks and not allowing any easy buckets. Tim Hardaway Jr got hot early for Atlanta and Dwight Howard dominated the boards.
In the second everyones favorite Maverick J.J. Barea provided a spark off the bench in his first action in 7 games. He knocked down a trey ball and racked up 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Late in the second it was Harrison Barnes‘ turn to catch fire. HB drained some midrange looks, taking advantage of some smaller defenders. At the half, both teams were locked up at 42 a piece.
The third quarter was a game of runs. The Hawks would string some offense together, and Barnes would hit 8 points in a row to close the gap. Later on it was Dirk’s turn to keep the game close, as he got loose for a few classic one-leg-fadeaways.
Atlanta started off the fourth quarter with the hot hand, going on a 10-0 run early on. To stop the bleeding, Carlisle decided to implement the “Hack-A-Howard” strategy, yet it didn’t pay off as Howard hit most of his free throws.
With slightly under 3 minutes left in the game down by 11, the deep subs came in. This was a strange thing to do to me, as it appeared to still be a winnable game. I suppose coach thought otherwise. Dallas ended up falling 97-82.
Barnes had another solid night despite the loss, putting up 21 points and 4 rebounds on 60% shooting and 0 turnovers. If HB continues to perform this well, then Dallas MUST find a way to ride his play to some wins. For the Hawks Dwight Howard was dominant with 15 points and 20 rebounds, also Dennis Schroder and Hardaway Jr provided 20 and 22 accordingly.
Next up for the Dallas Mavericks will be a trip north to take on the young Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday at 7:00PM CT. The teams will be battling to not be the worst team in the Western Conference.