We got the JJ Barea of old
It’s no secret to anyone who’s been watching, JJ Barea has had a really tough year shooting the ball.
Coming into the OKC game, he was slashing .316/.219/.727, wayyyyy down from his career averages.
But the little man brought it in a big way saturday Night. OKC is very much a slow, grind you down team, and the first group predictably struggled. But their fortunes turned when JJ checked into the game.
“Barea, he was great. He just had a brilliant game. Extremely aggressive, scored it, passed it, was fine on defense. You know people go after him every single night,” Coach Carlisle said.
“He was certainly a big tone setter for us.”
JJ would go on to tally 21 points, five assists, and three rebounds on 8/15 shooting, while posting a plus+17.
The Mavs defense was much better
Disclaimer: The Thunder are a very poor offensive output. Like, very poor. They don’t run really much of anything on offense, settle for way too many difficult mid-range jumpers, and hardly ever move the ball. And when you play a bad defense like the Mavs, you want to make them work as much as possible, then you should be able to find more opportunities. Unfortunately for them, the Thunder aren’t adept in this area.
However, the Mavericks don’t make the schedule and can only play the opponent in front of them. And at least for this particular night, they did their job on the less glamorous end.
They held OKC to a season best 96 points, and “forced” them to shoot 39%. Featured options Paul George and Dennis Schroeder combined to score 39 points, but on 42 shots.
“Extra effort. Guys were really covering for each other, talking on defense, you know I feel like we were really talkative out there on defense,” Dorian Finney-Smith said of their teams defensive effort.
And when asked if they could continue it, he chuckled and said, “that’s the plan.”
Luka is thankfully okay
It was a bit of a rough start to the game for the Mavs rookie sensation. He started by missing five of his first six shots, and mixed in a couple sloppy turnovers as well. It certainly wasn’t his sharpest moment, given the incredibly high standard he has set for himself.
But that was the least of everyone worries when he went down late in the third quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury.
He sat down on the court, appearing to be dealing with a lot of discomfort, before limping to the bench and being looked at by trainers.
Thankfully, he would return in the fourth quarter, and everything appeared to be working properly, but you can never be to careful with your 19-year-old franchise player.
“It was on the muscle, so it’s probably going to be sore tomorrow,” he said after the game.
When asked on whether or not it would affect game status, “No, I don’t think so.”
He finished with a quiet, but impressive 22 point, eight assist, six rebound night.
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