There was no Luka Doncic for the Mavericks on Friday night. Following trading away their next leading scorers in Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, that’s about all you needed to know about Dallas’ chances against the contending Denver Nuggets on Friday night. Your expectation became reality as the Mavericks struggled mightily on offense in a 114-104 loss.
If you didn’t watch the game, DO NOT be fooled by the score. This game was not close. Things started out positively enough for the Mavs. The starting unit of Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and Salah Mejri came out swinging and leaped out to a 16-10 lead early on, but things slowly started to sink from there. After leading 25-20 after the first, the Mavericks were outscored by 15 the rest of the way, and it could have/should have been much, much worse.
Things went especially south in a third quarter that saw Denver scorch Dallas 39-23. Isaiah Thomas in his second game of the season notched 16 points for Denver while getting really hot in the second half. Meanwhile, the Mavericks continued to sink on offense without the playmaking of Doncic and without any player seeming to hit shots at a high rate.
With or without the future Rookie of the Year, the Mavs have simply not played well on offense after trading away four out of their five regular starters. The dependable three point shooting of Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews has been replaced by inconsistency from Hardaway Jr. and Finney-Smith in higher volume.
The dependable 14 rebounds a game from DeAndre Jordan could be labeled as “stat-padding” but sure is missed whenever Dallas is outrebounded by the likes of Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee 63-42.
With the trade deadline having passed, there really isn’t much the Mavericks can do to improve their team the rest of this season. While it’s been well-chronicled that they’re more focused on next season with the addition of superstar Kristaps Porzingis, that doesn’t exactly make it easier for fans to swallow nights like Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
The Mavs won’t win many games shooting 24% from beyond the arc. Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith combined to go 0-9 from deep. This team shoots a ton of three’s and is simply not going to be able to float if they don’t hit them at a decent clip.
Things don’t get any easier for the Mavericks as they will next head West to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz tomorrow night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 PM.
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