Observations from the Mavs win over the Clippers
By Sean Bush
Dennis Smith Jr. returns to the lineup as the Dallas Mavericks down the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas 106-98.
The Dallas Mavericks had a sluggish start to the game, only scoring 2 points prior to a trip to the free throw line for DeAndre Jordan with 8:08 left in the first quarter. Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic then assisted on back-to-back DeAndre Jordan slams to bring the score to a 12-7 Clippers lead with seven minutes remaining in the quarter.
Dallas hung tough with Los Angeles for the rest of the quarter. The Clippers ended the first period with a lead of 29-26. DeAndre Jordan and Dennis Smith Jr. came out extremely aggressive. They each finished with 7 points heading into the second quarter.
About two minutes into the 2nd quarter, we were gifted with this vintage Dirk fadeaway:
Enjoy those, Mavs fans. It is more than likely the last year you will get the pleasure of seeing them. The Wurzburg legend would hit a three-pointer later in the quarter finishing with 5 points heading into the half. The Mavericks would finish the half with a 58-56 lead. They shot 50% from the field but only 21% from deep.
Both teams traded leads for much of the quarter. Luka Doncic had a solid finish to the quarter. He finished the half with 6 points and 4 assists. Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes were the high point men scoring 11 points each going into the break.
Doncic got the 3rd quarter started with a nice pull-up jumper. Then, DSJ broke out this nifty move:
Meanwhile, Patrick Beverley scored eight straight points in the 3rd for Los Angeles—keeping the game competitive up to the halfway mark. Doncic had a rough shooting night for much of the first three quarters. He was 3-11 from the field before this beautiful move:
Both teams went ice cold to finish the quarter—the Clippers missed 16 straight shots from the field to end the 3rd. Despite this, the Mavericks only held a 78-73 lead heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter began with more sloppy play from both sides. Doncic forced some shots he shouldn’t and a lot of fouls were committed on each end of the floor. The Clippers went on a run to take an 88-83 advantage with 7:57 left in the game before Smith Jr. earned a trip to the line.
Two free throw makes and a Harrison Barnes three pointer knotted everything back up at 88. The Mavericks then went on a 9-3 run led by some great play from Dennis Smith Jr. The team was not forced to sub Luka Doncic back in until the 2:14 mark when the team held a 97-93 lead.
A clutch step-back elbow jumper from Luka and a top-of-the-key pull-up three from Barnes all but put the game away. The Mavericks would close out the victory winning 106-98.
Here are some general observations from the game:
Dennis Smith Jr. returned from his awkward stand-off from the team and proved what he can do when he stays aggressive. He finished with 17 points, 4 assists, and a season high 8 rebounds. You would like to see him improve his shooting (6-17) and turnovers (4), but his energy and defense were important and he missed some good looks.
Luka Doncic had another rough shooting night. He is shooting 14-46 (30%) in his last three games and just 2-18 (11%) from deep. The rookie might be tired or just in the midst of a cold streak. He still found a way to contribute to a winning basketball night, finishing with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
quietly had a solid game off the bench as well. He chipped in 8 points and was a +4 in 10 minutes. It’s good to see the German’s shot fall.
Harrison Barnes finally shot well tonight after shooting roughly 30% from the field in his last 8 games. He finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-14 shooting.
DeAndre Jordan tied his season-high of 5 blocks. He also had 13 points, 16 boards, and 4 assists. The big man appeared more energetic than usual tonight.
The Mavericks picked up their first win on the second night of a back-to-back this season. They lost all seven of their previous tries.