Missing four of their starters, the Dallas Mavericks fell to the Orlando Magic on the second game of a back-to-back 112-89.
Missing In Action
Coach Rick Carlisle pulled a Greg Popovich by deciding that Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews, JJ Barea, Harrison Barnes, Devin Harris, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nerlens Noel, and Josh McRoberts would not play in the first of a two game series against the Magic. Instead of traveling with the team these players stayed in Dallas to get some rest.
Notable Box Scores
Seth Curry continued his preseason struggles on Thursday. He followed up a 1-7 field goal and 0-3 three-point shooting night on Wednesday with a 4-14 field goal and 1-7 three-point shooting night on Thursday. Coach Carlisle has said that he thinks Curry will be the starting shooting guard. So far the experiment is not working how the Mavs had anticipated based on Curry’s shooting struggles. The Mavs need him to be a reliable scoring option that can space the floor and pull the defense out with his shooting. Curry has come off the bench the majority of his NBA career so maybe he is just getting through the growing pains of starting games.
Big men Dwight Powell and Jeff Withey showed off their three-point stroke on Thursday. Powell shot 2-5 on threes and 3-7 on field goals for 11 points in 24 minutes of action. Withey shot 3-4 on threes and 4-7 on field goals to finish the night with 11 points in 19 minutes. Coach Carlisle has given both Powell and Withey the green light to shoot from deep. Having another center on the roster besides Dirk that can stretch the floor might come in handy for Dallas’s second or third unit. Powell has been trying to stretch his shooting out to the corner 3 for the past two years. Now that it looks like he will be paired with Noel often, having the ability to separate themselves on the floor will be huge to Dallas’s spacing.
Fighting for a roster spot, undrafted rookies PJ Dozier and Gian Clavell saw extended minutes. Inserted into the starting line up, Dozier played 28 minutes and shot 1-7 on field goals and 0-4 on threes to finish with 3 points, 5 rebounds, and a plus-minus of -16, the second lowest plus minus on the team. Clavell came off the bench and played 30 minutes, finishing 2-11 on field goals and 1-5 on threes for 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a plus-minus of -9. Both players seem to be in competition with one another for a final spot on the active roster or for the last two-way contract. They will need to have a better overall performance when they are given extended minutes in order to impress Coach Carlisle.
Jonathan Motley was the only Maverick that finished with a plus-minus in the positive, with a +3 in 14 minutes. Already locked into a two-way deal, Motley finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal. His play is starting to turn heads in Dallas, as he hit the game-winner in the first pre-season game against the Bucks. The Mavericks might have gotten themselves a steal. The Baylor product was a force in the Big 12 until a knee injury caused him to go undrafted.
First-round pick Dennis Smith Jr. also had a rough game, just like his young peers. He finished the night shooting 4-14 on field goals and 2-4 on threes for 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 turnover. Although he was the leading scorer on Thursday, surely the Mavs coaching staff wants to see him get more involved with sharing and creating plays for his teammates. Look for DSJ to bounce back on Monday as the starters are expected to play.
The Mavericks next game is on Monday, October 9 at 7:30 pm (central) in Dallas. They will be taking on the Magic once again. This game should be a little closer than Thursday’s, the Magic starters will now get to take on the Mavericks starters instead of beating up on the younger, less experienced guys.
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