The Dallas Mavericks started off the season really highlighting some of their shortcomings. That said, there were some definite bright spots for the team as well.
Though Dennis Smith Jr. and Nerlens Noel played well, the Hawks spoiled the Dallas Mavericks season behind Dennis Schroder and company.
The night we’ve all been waiting for didn’t quite go as planned. The Mavs suffered a close defeat, losing to the Hawks 117-111. The game was back and forth the entire night, yet Atlanta held a grasp on a small lead for most of the game.
The downfall of the Mavs came in the first half, as they couldn’t knock down their open three’s. DSJ was doing a fine job finding the open man, but the shots wouldn’t fall, as they shot 5-22 from deep in the first half. Bright spots from the first half were based around DSJ and Noel, as they both provided a spark offensively with Nerlens holding down the paint on defense.
The second half was a different story for Dallas, as shots started to fall. Wes Matthews caught fire in the second half and arrows began to fly, adding to his Swiss Army knife stat line of 15-8-5. DSJ, Barea, and Matthews playmaking was a problem for the Hawks which helped close the gap in the final two frames, but it wasn’t enough for the Mavs as the Hawks ability to get to the basket in the closing quarter was the nail in the coffin.
On paper, the Hawks roster may look like a group full of role players but they have some talent. Dennis Schroder was a huge factor with 28 points and 7 assists, as he got to the hoop with ease all night long. DSJ wasn’t the only rookie who had a nice debut. John Collins out of Wake Forest held his own in the paint with 14 points and 5 boards. And don’t forget the crafty veteran Marco Belinelli, who put up a full stat line.
One huge takeaway from the game was Carlisle’s rotations late in the game. Nerlens Noel was a huge factor on the glass and defensively, as Dirk truly looked like a mummy out there at some points on defense. Carlisle chose to go with not-so fan favorite Dwight Powell late in the 4th, with both Dirk and Noel on the bench. Powell had a few defensive lapses but made up for them with two big three pointers. As Carlisle said postgame, “It was just one of those coach’s decisions”.
Another factor leading to the Mavs defeat was the poor shooting of Dirk and Barnes. They combined for a dreadful 7-27 night as nothing seemed to fall. DSJ led the way for Dallas with 16 points and 10 assists, an impressive double-double in his first NBA game.
Of course, last night was only game one of 82, but the question going forward will be the minutes of Dirk and Nerlens. As much as we all love Dirk, we can’t hide the fact that he’s a defensive liability and not exactly a banger on the boards either. Nerlens active hands and explosiveness were evident tonight and helped keep the Mavs in the game.
Carlisle and the Mavs head back to the drawing board as the Sacramento Kings make their way to Dallas for a 7:30 tip-off on Friday. Go Mavs!