The Dallas Mavericks lost their first game of the season against the reigning NBA Champions, the Denver Nuggets.
The Mavs went down early but remained within striking distance during the entirety of the game.
The Mavericks scored 114, the most on the Denver defense this year, but allowed 125 points. Dallas shot 47.7 percent from the floor, 40.5 percent from three, and 88.2 percent from the free-throw line.
3 studs, 2 duds in Mavericks' first loss of the season in Denver
Despite playing an efficient brand of basketball, the Mavs were demolished in the rebound battle. Denver out-rebounded Dallas 51-34.
Only the second time Dallas has lost the rebounding battle this year and the first time the Mavs haven't corraled more than 40 rebounds in a game.
Dishonorable Mention: The Dallas defense
First of all, allowing 100 points after three quarters doesn't equate to many wins. And allowing 125 total in any game is difficult to overcome.
The Mavs average the third most points in the association at 122.5, but the remarkable Dallas average is less than what they gave up tonight. No matter how hot the offense is, the defense must play better.
After scoring 40 points in the opening quarter, the Nuggets never looked back as they seemed to get whatever look they wanted. To make matters worse, the Nuggets grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. No matter if they missed their first look, it was likely they'd get another chance to put the ball through the net.
The catalyst behind the Nuggets' superb shooting was no other than two-time MVP, Nikola Jokic. The Dallas defense had no answer for the Joker. The Mavs defended Jokic with 6-foot-6 Grant Williams and rookie center Dereck Lively II.
Jokic posted up and shot over whenever Williams defended him. And while Jokic can't shoot as easily over the 7-foot-1 Lively II, he used his intelligent offense play and strength to score around the rim.
Dishonorable Mention: The Nuggets' Court
Tonight, NBA fans viewed the In-Season Tournament courts for the first time. Before today, fans had just received a glimpse of each court. And the reception was less than stellar.
Now, after watching a full contest, the consensus is that fans are still displeased. The bright-blue Denver court with a massive 5280, referencing Denver's altitude, isn't the most aesthetically pleasing nor easy on the eyes.
Not all In-Season Tournament courts will be as distracting as the Nuggets. For instance, the Dallas court is gray, which will surely look better than the bright blue sea we witnessed in Denver.
5. Stud - Josh Green
Josh Green was one of five Mavs to generate a positive plus/minus. And one of two Mavs, besides Jaden Hardy, who generated a positive plus/minus while playing more than 10 minutes in the contest.
The Australian swingman played his best game of the season. He recorded a season-high in points, rebounds, and 3-pointers made. Green looked more confident shooting off the catch and moving without the ball.
He drained three spot-up 3-pointers and looked decisive when he launched his other two attempts. And besides the improved offense, he was one of few Mavs flying around and active on the defensive end.
Green recorded two steals, his second game this season with multiple thefts. Also, while other Mavs spent time arguing calls, Green immediately got back on defense, attempting to stop the break.
He stayed in front of his man and blocked off driving lanes. Green forced his matchup to take tough shots or give up the ball. If only Green was big enough to defend Jokic.