Tonight was certainly an exciting night at the American Airlines Center for a few reasons. First, the Mavericks debuted their new City Edition uniforms and court to match. The Deep Ellum inspired jerseys definitely brought a new feel to the AAC, whether you’re a fan or not.
But it wasn’t just the new uniforms. It was the matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers that coming into tonight, was one of the most anticipated match ups for the Mavs so far this season. Both riding five-game winning streaks and near the top of the Western Conference, this was slated to be a great game.
Slated to. I didn’t say it was going to be. It was a great game for the Clippers, let’s just say that. From opening tip, the Clips came out shooting well. Paul George in particular got off to a hot start with 17 first quarter points, which set the tone for the rest of the night as Los Angeles ended the Mavericks streak, 114-99.
The Mavericks couldn’t catch a cold tonight as they shot 38% from the field and an ugly 28.9% from three. It’s almost as if this was the first game following Thanksgiving. Their legs looked dead and shots just weren’t falling all night.
But, it wasn’t just shots not falling. The Clippers are one of the best defensive teams in the league with three All-NBA caliber defenders in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley.
Their length as a team on defense and ability to stay in front of their man was on showcase tonight as they made it tough for Luka and company to get into a groove. As incredible of a run that Luka’s been on, he was some-what human tonight, shooting just 4/14 from the floor.
I wouldn’t say this is a wake up call for Luka but Leonard, George, and Beverley are the caliber of defenders he will be going toe-to-toe with every night come the playoffs. You can bet your bottom dollar that #77 will be more prepared and ready for the task next time around.
He hasn’t seen the floor a lot this season. Almost not at all. But when Carlisle has called Barea’s number, he’s responded. When the Mavs needed a lift in the third quarter, Barea came in and provided, scoring 10 points.
Now, the Mavericks still trailed by 16 going into the fourth but Barea made his mark. “I thought Barea in the second half, once again, gave us some real pop out there,” Carlisle said.
Barea is an all-time favorite of Carlisle’s. That is evident. Time will tell if the spark that he’s brought when called upon this season will earn more minutes in a crowded back court.
Western Conference Hierarchy
It’s only one game but tonight showed that maybe, just maybe, the Mavericks aren’t on the same level as the Clippers when it comes to the hierarchy in the Western Conference.
And you know what? That’s fine.
That’s fine because first off, it’s November and second, the Clippers are supposed to be at a higher tier than the Mavs.
When you have guys like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George surrounded by high-level role players along with a championship coach in Doc Rivers, you have a chance to win not just every night but a championship.
The Clippers just completely outmatched the Mavericks tonight in all aspects of the game and Carlisle spoke to that after the game. “You have to have a certain level of understanding of what you’re getting into from a physical standpoint and I didn’t do a good enough job of that,” Carlisle said.
The five-game winning streak is over but the Mavericks have a few days off for Thanksgiving break until they attempt to rebound against the Suns on the road on Friday.
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