A short-handed Mavericks squad fell to the Sacramento Kings Friday night 88-93 in Dallas. The loss is their second straight to begin the season leaving the team with an 0-2 record.
The Dallas Mavericks lost in another close one Friday, failing to find a way to close out the game against a rebuilding Sacramento Kings team. The Mavericks were without starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr. due to a minor knee injury and also were without Devin Harris as he mourns the death of his brother, Bruce. All of our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies as a Mavericks community are with Devin and his family as they continue to deal with these difficult times.
The Mavericks’ rebounding struggles have followed them from last season into the start of this one as the Kings absolutely owned them on the glass all night.
It’s hard for any team to overcome a 36-57 total rebounding disadvantage and the fact that the Mavericks somehow found a way to even keep the game competitive despite that disadvantage is honestly surprising. In the future, the entire team needs to make a more concerted effort towards boxing out and securing boards if they want to contend for a playoff spot.
There were not a lot of positives to take away from this game, but a few can be found. Dorian Finney-Smith quietly had one of the best games of his young career posting 14 points on 5-6 FG and 3-4 3PT along with his usual solid defense. Nerlens Noel played relatively well as he was efficient on offense and a menace defensively.
Noel was perfect from the field and finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks but playing him and Dirk together at the same time proved once again to be an abject failure. The Mavs were outscored by a team-worst 16 points while Noel was on the floor, mostly due to the fact that lineups with Nowitzki and Noel together severely handicap the team defensively.
Wes Matthews had a night he’ll like to soon forget missing all seven of his three point attempts and coughing the ball up four times on the offensive end. Harrison Barnes had an encouraging nine free throw attempts but once again lacked in efficiency shooting from the field and needs to find a way to improve his rebounding immediately. Four rebounds in 39 minutes for a guy who spends a majority of his time on the floor at the power forward position is simply unacceptable going forward.
This game will provide some film the team should look hard at and assess so that they can try and tackle some of these major flaws while it is still early in the season. It is hard to imagine head coach, Rick Carlisle, was satisfied with the effort after publicly calling out his team for not giving 100% against the Atlanta Hawks in the opener.
The Dallas Mavericks will have a chance to bounce back tomorrow night against James Harden and the undefeated Rockets in Houston. Hopefully they can jump-start their season against their in-state divisional rivals who will be without star point guard Chris Paul due to a knee injury.