Dallas Mavericks fall to Clippers despite career high for Luka

Dallas Mavericks J.J. Barea Luka Doncic (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks J.J. Barea Luka Doncic (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks fought to the bitter end in a shootout with the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough in the tank as the Mavs fell 125-121. Luka Doncic lead all scorers with 32.

The Dallas Mavericks continued their slide down the Western Conference standings tonight, with their fourth straight loss also pushing them back to .500 on the season. Although this team has appeared better than a .500 team at times this year, the lack of defensive stability has cost them a lot of winnable games.

The Mavs have allowed their past three opponents to shoot better than 47% from the field, including over 56% in last night’s loss to the Clippers. It is really difficult to win a game that way.

As always, I like to find the bright spots amongst the carnage, so let’s talk about tonight’s wins before we bring up too many of the losses.

Win: Luka Doncic

Luka was a beast tonight, recording a season high 32 points (previous high was 31 against the San Antonio Spurs). He did so on 10-20 shooting from the field and 3-6 from three-point land. His free throw shooting was down a little bit tonight with a 9-13 showing, but aside from that, his game was solid.

He also grabbed 4 rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and had 4 steals to round out his stat line. His 4 turnovers was about the only thing that really went wrong in his game.

Win: J.J. Barea

There was a time in the start of the fourth quarter where Barea was the best player on the court and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop him or slow down the offense. This was when the Mavs erased the deficit and took the leaD for a short time.

Barea finished the night with 19 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds. He had a great game and did well for the second unit, which really helped the Mavs stay in the game until about halfway through the fourth quarter.

Loss: Defense as a whole

As mentioned earlier, the Mavs struggled badly on the defensive end. The biggest issue of the entire night were the little runs that Dallas allowed the Clippers to get in the 2nd and 4th quarters. If the Mavs don’t go ice cold for just a few minutes at a time, the result of the game could have been very different.

Dallas didn’t even give L.A. a chance to go cold because the defense was so atrocious. Every team has been able to get to the rim almost at will against the Mavs over the past week and that needs to change quickly. The most frustrating part about the whole thing is that we know the Mavs are capable of so much more on defense.

Loss: Protecting the paint

I know I just talked about this, but I’m not finished yet. The Mavs won the shootout from three-point tonight and really would have won the free throw battle as well if not for the intentional fouls down the stretch. The only real difference in the shooting numbers between the teams is the 62 points in the paint Dallas allowed.

It is incredibly difficult to win these games without some paint protection. The Mavs didn’t record a single block tonight which further shows the issue.

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Dallas will get a chance to end this losing skid on Saturday when they take on the Golden State Warriors in California. The game will tip-off at 7:30 central time once again as Dallas looks to snag a difficult win against the defending champs with a healthy roster.