The Dallas Mavericks and the Tale of Two Halves

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 30: Head coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks gestures from the sideline in the second half of their 104-89 loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 30, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 30: Head coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks gestures from the sideline in the second half of their 104-89 loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 30, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /
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The Dallas Mavericks have been exceptional so far this year at playing half of the game. Sadly, every good half has been a first half for the Mavs, as was the case tonight against the Utah Jazz. Mavs fall 104-89.

I’m not sure what Coach Carlisle is saying to the Dallas Mavericks players at half time, but I think it is time to change up his speech. I only say that because Dallas has really struggled firing on all cylinders at the start of the third quarter this season. Tonight is not the first example of Dallas coming out of the half slow as they have had 3rd quarter totals of 14, 14, and 19 in three of their 8 games so far.

Each of these games with really poor third quarters came on the back of solid first halves where the Mavs had a very real chance of winning. Unfortunately, wins have been near impossible for Dallas to come by so far this year, as they have found a variety of ways to lose games in the first month of the season.

Tonight, however, the Jazz really outplayed the Mavericks. Dallas struggled to find scoring throughout the game as the starting lineup really struggled to get the ball through the hoop. Dirk had a great game as he often does against the Jazz, scoring a team high 18 points on 7-11 shooting. Barea also scored in double-digits with 17 and Devin Harris had a great game, scoring 15 points to go with his 6 assists.

Sadly, the Mavs always have demons to exorcise when playing the Jazz as well. If Rodney Hood and Rudy Gobert could both play the Mavericks in all 82 games, they would be undoubted All-Stars with a chance at the MVP award. Tonight was another showing of that as Hood led all scorers with 25 and Gobert had a crazy stat line with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 blocks, and 2 steals.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 30: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks looks cross court during the second half of their 104-89 loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 30, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 30: Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks looks cross court during the second half of their 104-89 loss to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 30, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

Bright Spot: Dirk really shot well tonight and looked comfortable with his shot. It may not be a turning point but it is a good sight to see from someone we are so used to seeing excel with his shot. Maybe this is the game Nowitzki needed to turn the corner on the season and get his shot falling regularly again.

Things that Need Work: Harrison Barnes shot is broke and it needs some serious help. Barnes scored only 6 points tonight on 3-11 shooting and didn’t even get to the free throw line once. That is something that Dallas cannot work with as HB needs to be the leader in free throw shooting if our offense is working the way it is supposed to. Hopefully Barnes figures this out soon.

Next: Embiid, Simmons Soak in Their Dirk Nowitzki Experience

Dallas will search far and wide for a win once again on November 1st as the Mavs travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. Let’s hope Dallas can stay competitive for both halves of that game against a tough 4-1 Clips team.