On a night where Dallas picked up their ninth loss of the season, Salah Mejri provided a much-needed spark and energy.
When you have lost eight of your first nine games of the season, you look to your bench for some sort of spark and change-up.
On Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, Salah Mejri brought exactly that to the Dallas Mavericks despite another loss on the season.
Coming into the night averaging just eight minutes a game, Mejri finished the game with 22 minutes where he recorded 7 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks. His 22 minutes was 10 more minutes than Dwight Powell and nine more minutes than Nerlens Noel.
His energy off the bench brought a spark not just to his teammates, but the whole arena. Despite going head-to-head with arguably the best frontline in the league, Mejri never backed down and never took a possession off.
After the game, Rick Carlisle praised Mejri’s play and cited that he always played well against DeMarcus Cousins in the past.
When I asked Mejri about Carlisle saying he plays well against Cousins, Mejri says he thinks he plays well in other games also.
"“I think I do good against other teams too,” Mejri said. “That is what he has been telling me the past couple of days. That I have to be ready for this game to get charges on Boogie.”"
It was obvious that going into the matchup Mejri was a part of the gameplan, but taking charges seemed to be his main goal going into the matchup.
“He told me this morning to get some charges,” Mejri said about Carlisle.
Even though Cousins finished the game with 20 points and 22 rebounds, there were times when Mejri had Cousins frustrated on the block.
“Once you get a charge on him he will think twice about attacking me,” Mejri said in regards to Cousins. “He knows I’m there.”
Later in the second half, Mejri and Cousins got tangled up underneath the basket. When I asked Mejri about the play, he cited his competitiveness no matter the opponent.
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“I’ve said it since my first year in the league. I respect everybody but I don’t respect nobody when it comes to be competitive. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me. I’m just going to play him,” Mejri said.
Dallas would go on to lose the game by five points behind 30 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks from Anthony Davis. The Mavericks threw everyone from Harrison Barnes to Dwight Powell at Davis, but none seemed to work.
Nerlens Noel started the game, but didn’t see much action in the second half as Carlisle rode the hot hand of Salah Mejri.
“I believe I can bring the same energy every night,” Mejri said. “I will play with the same energy every night if I get the chance to.”
The Dallas Mavericks travel to Minnesota for their next game where Mejri might get more minutes against another dominant big man from Kentucky.