Mavericks Break the Back-to-Back Curse in Style
The Dallas Mavericks come away with a huge upset over the Cleveland Cavaliers just a day after besting the interstate rival San Antonio Spurs. Words aren’t enough to describe this win, but I will sure try.
This is a new Dallas Mavericks team and tonight made it vividly clear to all the fans that were lucky enough to watch it. After a stunning victory over Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs, the Mavs traveled back home for the big matchup against Cleveland.
Even though the Cavs haven’t been playing their best ball of the season, it does not change the fact that it was a formidable game that the Mavs needed to come in ready to play against. They did exactly that.
Dallas won the game 104-97, which was closer than it probably could’ve been but an amazing win nonetheless. Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 24 points and also led the game in rebounds with 11. Wesley Matthews followed with 21 points, while Yogi Ferrell sets a new career high with 19 of his own.
The Cavaliers thought they would probably walk into the game and run it right from the get-go, but Dallas had other ideas. The Mavs led in almost every category tonight but the big ones were definitely the turnovers and the second chance points. Dallas had fewer turnovers with a 17-9 advantage, and had a huge second chance advantage as well.
Clearly the Mavs are tired of sitting in the cellar of the Western Conference and are ready to fight their way out of it. If Dallas is ready to go on a hot streak, this is a great time to make a move. Here are a few keys to tonight’s victory.
Star of the game:
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It really is impossible not to give this to Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell got signed to a 10-day contract right before Dallas had its toughest back-to-back matchup of the season and boy has he delivered. Tonight, Ferrell dropped 19 points on 7-15 shooting, adding 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and only 2 turnovers.
Ferrell has been a beast since the day he walked into the gym and the Mavericks are really reaping the benefits of his excellent play at an important time. Ferrell had a great career at Indiana University and was just looking for the right place to utilize his talents. I believe he found it.
The biggest impact on the entire game goes to the defense played by Yogi and Wesley Matthews. Yogi has seen very little NBA level talent in his career and certainly not to the extent of what Kyrie Irving is capable of. Tonight, Yogi slowed Kyrie down impressively.
LeBron James and Kyrie still led the team in scoring, combining for 41 points, but they also managed to go 16-40 from the field, including 2-14 from behind the arc. Those stats together make one of the poorer performances between the two All-Stars. They also combined for 11 turnovers.
Scary Moment for Dallas:
Wesley Matthews limped off the court during the 2nd half with an apparent hamstring injury. He was able to get back in the game shortly after, but the hamstring can be a scary injury so it is definitely something to monitor.
If the Mavs do lose Wesley Matthews for a short time (unlikely considering his history), expect to see Dorian FInney-Smith re-enter the starting lineup. Although he is not quite the level of player that Matthews is, he has shown vast improvements over the season.
Most important Stat:
There are so many ways we could go with this but I am going to say efficiency. The Dallas Mavericks as a whole shot the ball 45.3% and individually, the only person that really shot poorly was Devin Harris at 1-5. Dallas only hit 9 three’s but went 17-18 from the free throw line.
Even bigger than that, the Mavs controlled the pace and maximized their effectiveness by limiting turnovers in a big way. Dallas had 9 for the game, but only 5 through the first three quarters.Second chances also made a huge impact as the Mavs attempted 11 more shots than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Dallas Mavericks will look to continue this awesome hot streak on Wednesday February 1st against the Philadelphia 76ers. Dallas will be at home with coverage beginning at 7:30 CT. The Mavs will get their first look at Joel Embiid in the flesh.