In what may not have been a successful season for the Mavericks in win totals or a playoff appearance, a successful season in the growth of the Dallas youth movement ended tonight. The Mavericks finished out their season against their fellow lottery contenders in the Suns, losing to Phoenix 124-97 in a second half blowout.
Tonight, was one of those games at the AAC when the programs sure came in handy as there were some names on the back of the jerseys that your everyday fan may not recognize. You could say it was as if the Northern Arizona Suns were in town to play the Texas Legends instead.
With the likes of Dirk and J.J. out with injuries, the Mavs roster was already sitting thin before Rick Carlisle announced Dennis Smith Jr, Harrison Barnes, Doug McDermott, and Salah Mejri would be sitting out as well. With only eight players active, that meant plenty of minutes for the Texas Legends graduates in Johnathan Motley, Kyle Collinsworth, and Jalen Jones.
Speaking of the Tall Baller from the G, Dirk spoke prior to tonight’s matchup about his plans to return for his 21st season with the Mavs after having left ankle surgery last Thursday. “Hopefully I can play some decent basketball next season. If not, it’s time to go.”
“We were one of the teams that lost the most close games in the whole league,” Dirk added about the competitive nature of this team. “I think our young players are going to get a lot better.” During the press conference, Sun’s center and Mavs champion Tyson Chandler snuck in the room to hug his former teammate and take a few pictures.
— Tamara Jolee (@TamaraJolee) April 10, 2018
In the first half, the Mavs broke out to a lead with Kyle Collinsworth finding shots for Johnathan Motley and Aaron Harrison, giving Dallas a 10-point halftime lead, though Alec Peters and Alex Len performed well for the Suns.
The second half was a different story as the Suns scored 80 points in the final two quarters. Alec Peters, who scored 12 first half points, continued his hot shooting from three, scoring a career-high 36 points, nine rebounds on 8-13 shooting from downtown. Johnathan Motley led the way for Dallas with 21 points and six rebounds. Kyle Collinsworth just missed out on a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists.
“We had trouble stopping Larry Bird dressed up as Alec Peters,” Carlisle joked following the loss, landing the Mavs at a final record of 24-58 on the season. “I believe we will be better next year. But there are no guarantees in this.”
With the season concluded, the Mavs will now keep their eyes on the Orlando Magic, who play their final game on Wednesday against the Wizards. If the Magic lose, they’ll join the Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks at 24-58, making a three-way tie for third in the lottery standings. The league will hold a tie-breaker on Friday to decide where the teams will land in the lottery.
Overall, a difficult season for Dallas. The Mavericks haven’t won so few games since the lockout season in 1998-1999. Through the struggle, the Mavericks got to watch the growth of their young bull Dennis Smith Jr. Alongside the continued progression of Harrison Barnes, Dwight Powell, and company, the Mavericks future can only go up from here on the cusp of adding a top-5 prospect in the 2018 NBA Draft.
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