Dallas Mavericks Fall to Timberwolves in Defensive Struggle
By Evan Siegel
The Mavericks failed to make up any ground in the thick Western Conference after their narrow loss to the Timberwolves.
The Mavs fell to the Timberwolves Sunday night by a final tally of 97-92. The Mavericks failed to record their eighth win of the season and instead registered their twentieth loss of the year.
In 38 minutes, Wesley Matthews scored 14 points on 6/17 shooting from the field. He shot a disappointing 2/8 from three-point range, and recorded four rebounds and four assists on the night as well.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks in scoring on the night, putting up 19 points on 8/15 shooting from the floor. As encouraged as the Mavericks are by their primary young assets like Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks have been equally encouraged recently by the play of Maxi Kleber.
Kleber had another strong showing against the now 16-win Timberwolves, scoring sixteen points and grabbing five rebounds against one of the best big men in the game, Karl-Anthony Towns. Unfortunately for the Mavs, they couldn’t do much against Towns on the other side of the field.
Towns dominated the Mavericks with twenty-eight points and twelve rebounds. Without Nerlens Noel and playing with inferior competition, the Mavs had no answers for the star center.
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Jimmy Butler scored twenty-two points on the night and also recorded seven rebounds and five assists, out dueling his shooting guard opponent on the night, Wesley Matthews. The Mavericks were not able to create enough offense against a strong defensive unit led by Butler and defensive genius Tom Thibodeau.
The Mavs had six players reach double figures, but none hit twenty points, with several stagnant offensive possessions down the stretch, likely costing the Mavs the game.
With Dennis Smith Jr. sidelined, Antonius Cleveland saw significant action on the court.
The Mavericks continue their free-fall through the Western Conference. Now, at just 7-20 and in last place in the saturated West, the Mavericks are in no position to even contend for a playoff spot exactly a third of the way through the season.
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The Mavs will continue to prioritize their youngest assets and hope to become a contending team as soon as possible.