The Dallas Mavericks have endured an up and down week. Let’s look at some of the positives and negatives from the week, and what’s ahead.
The Dallas Mavericks definitely had some highs and lows this week. Yes, they snapped a six game losing streak, but they also put forth their worst effort of the year. Let’s look at some last week’s makes and misses.
Dorian Finney-Smith proving the Mavericks’ patience was worth it.
Dorian Finney-Smith has been a revelation so far this season. He averaged 15 points and six rebounds against the Knicks and Wizards before falling flat against the Jazz. In those two games against New York and Washington, Finney-Smith hit five of six from behind the arc.
And that’s to say nothing of his defense this year. He’s been tough on every opponent he’s guarded, even when his assignment has been a tough mismatch like Karl-Anthony Towns. Finney-Smith is turning into a legitimate 3-and-D threat, something the Mavericks desperately need.
The Mavericks showed some heart against the Jazz.
No, the contest against Utah wasn’t the prettiest basketball or the best result. But the Mavericks showed big heart against a tough team. After playing in Dallas Tuesday, the Mavs had to fly to Salt Lake City and play the next night.
That’s a scheduled loss most nights, and when it’s a game against a potential top four seed in the West, it’s especially difficult. Dallas was down 23 at the half, but fought back with tough defense and timely shots, cutting the lead to nine early in the fourth. That was as close as they’d get, but they never let the Jazz get comfortable. I appreciate the effort, especially after the Friday night debacle against the Knicks.
Jalen Brunson is good.
Brunson was +14 when on the court in three games this week, despite limited minutes. That’s all I’m going to say about him right now, because I want to go a little bit deeper on his game later this season. But keep your eye on him. He’s good.
The game against the Knicks.
So the entire game wasn’t a disaster. Finney-Smith showed out, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven boards. But the rest of the team…wow. I’m sure Friday night’s contest wasn’t the worst game Dallas has ever played, but it’s the worst one I can remember.
I didn’t see a basketball team on the floor of the AAC. I saw five guys doing their own thing, each with their own agenda. It resembled pickup basketball, not professional basketball. Let’s hope that was rock bottom for this team.
Jalen Brunson is good, but not getting on the court.
Brunson only played 20 minutes in three games this week. That’s not nearly enough. Look, I get that there are team politics. Despite what a lot of fans think, you can’t just bench Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea in favor of young players like Brunson and Finney-Smith, no matter how good the youngsters are playing. But with every passing game it becomes more and more obvious the Mavs aren’t going to be competing for a playoff spot, and developing young talent should become the focus.
The Mavericks welcome the streaking Thunder to the AAC, who have won seven in a row despite an injury to Russell Westbrook. Dallas then travels to Chicago to face the Bulls, who they defeated 115-109 earlier in October. The Mavericks wrap up the week with the Jazz here in Dallas. Yes, the Jazz. Again. Thankfully, this is the last time we’ll have to see Rudy Gobert patrolling the paint agains the Mavs.