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Three Observations: Mavs fall to Brooklyn

The Dallas Mavericks fell to 5-17 on Wednesday night after a competitive home loss to the Brooklyn Nets 109-104. Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and a career-high 6 assists. The Mavs scored 104 points on 97 possessions. The Mavericks outscored the Nets 27-21 in the first quarter. After that, the Mavericks failed to win another quarter, losing 27-20 in the 2nd, 32-29 in the 3rd, and 29-28 in the 4th.

After the loss, the Mavericks are now just 3-10 at home on the season. Over the past two seasons during the month of November, the Mavs have a combined 7-21 record.

Here are three observations from Wednesday night’s contest versus the Nets.

Maxi making an impact
When the Mavericks preseason roster was released, I honestly had never heard of Maximilian Kleber. My initial thought was that the Mavericks organization was letting Dirk put his GM hat on, giving him the reins for an honorary roster selection. Dirk chose a kid from his hometown of Wurzburg, Germany.

Slowly but surely, Kleber is proving that he may be here to stay in Dallas. Maxi had his best performance in a Mavericks uniform on Wednesday night posting career highs in points (16), rebounds (7), shot attempts (11), field goals made (7) and three-pointers made (2).

It’ safe to say that Maxi is getting a lot more comfortable each and every night he steps on the floor against NBA competition. At this point, it’s evident that Carlisle trusts him as the starting power forward thanks to his ability to stretch the floor and make winning plays. If Kleber continues to play like he did on Wednesday night, he may have a longer future in the NBA than most envisioned.

Rick Carlisle Coaching Miscues?
The Mavericks were outrebounded down the stretch of last night’s game largely thanks to the efforts of Trevor Booker. Carlisle told the media after the game, “[Trevor] Booker took the game from us single-handedly.” The Mavericks allowed a whopping eight offensive rebounds alone in the fourth quarter.

Did Rick out-smart himself down the stretch by inserting the smaller framed Dwight Powell in over someone like Salah Mejri or even Jeff Withey? Carlisle later would explain the late game rebounding issues. “Lack of execution. On me, I had the wrong guys in the game. I needed guys in there who could go get the ball.

Another factor could involve Nerlens Noel. It remains to be seen, but if Noel gets a high allotment of minutes, he could be a key instrument in improving the overall rebounding as a team. Noel certainly capable of grabbing double-digit rebounds if he gets say 30 or more minutes a game. But with Carlisle designating him to the bench and refusing to play him big minutes (or any at all), the rebounding department could become a big question mark.

Dennis Smith Minutes
Dennis Smith was slowed on Wednesday due to a stomach virus. He told the media that he hopes to have it run its course before the Mavericks next game on Saturday against the Clippers. Smith looked gassed early. It obviously doesn’t help if you are sick, but Smith has ways to go in terms of his on-court conditioning. Smith total 25 minutes on Wednesday and is averaging 27.2 over his past five games.

Carlisle opted to go with the backcourt pairing of Jose Barea and Devin Harris over the youthful Smith and Farrell pairing down the stretch last night. The rookie wall is real in the NBA, Smith’s minutes will be an interesting subplot to monitor as the season progresses.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Received my Bachelor of Science in Sport Administration from the University of Cincinnati in 2012. NBA fan in a college basketball city. I've been a MFFL since the Nellie Days.

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