The Fast Break: Mavs at Wizards

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Final: Mavs 113, Wizards 99

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

The Mavericks scored 36 points in the first quarter, the club’s highest-scoring opening frame since Dallas dropped 38 on the Lakers on March 7, 2017. You’ll probably remember that night as the one when Dirk Nowitzki joined the 30,000-point club. The Big German had 18 points in the first that night. This time around it wasn’t only Dirk doing all the heavy lifting, though, which was good to see. Dennis Smith Jr. got off to a monster start and that seemed to propel the rest of the team forward.

Dallas has now won nine straight games on the road against the Wizards. It’s the team’s longest active road winning streak against any opponent.

Salah Mejri has now blocked 12 shots in his last four games, including four swats in the second half. He finished with 10 points, 12 boards, and five blocks off the bench. It’s the second time he’s had a 10/10/5 game as a sub, and the only other Mavs in franchise history to have one of those games are Shawn Bradley and Roy Tarpley.

Dallas was +14 on the glass tonight, the club’s highest rebounding differential since Jan. 22, 2017, when the Mavs were +17 against the L.A. Lakers.

Notebook

  • This was the Mavs’ most inspired performance of the season. They dove on the floor, chased down loose balls, attacked the offensive glass, and ran, ran, and ran some more. They simply played harder than the Wizards, which is dangerous in combination with good shot-making. The Mavericks never trailed and, outside of a shaky start to the fourth quarter, the game was never really all that close. Dallas was in control all night, which has a lot to do with the play of Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. When those two are going like they were tonight, the Mavs are gonna be a tough out no matter who they’re playing. There’s your 1-2 punch for hopefully many years to come.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. is already good, but he’s starting to flash some special, special potential. The 19-year-old had an incredible stat line tonight: 22 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. The only two other Mavericks to reach that stat line in the last 10 years are Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. Smith was unbelievable, showing the ability to get to the rim at will — even against a long, super-fast defender like John Wall — while mixing in a nice floor game and court vision. Sometimes Smith is still guilty of pressing a bit and forcing some shots, but you expect rookies to do those things. You don’t expect a rookie to be able to do stuff like this, though.

    And he still does this stuff, which is cool.

  • Harrison Barnes has found his groove in recent games. Barnes got off to a pretty rough start from the field this season, but he’s more than made up for it. In his last six games before this one he’s averaged 18.3 points and 6.0 rebounds on 49.4/39.3 shooting splits, and tonight he poured in a season-high 31 on 11-of-18 shooting, in addition going 7 of 8 from the free throw line. It’s no secret that a huge part of his success lately has come from attacking the basket relentlessly, especially against switched guards. As long as he can keep attacking, he’s going to have no problem shooting a high percentage because he’s become such a good finisher.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (2-10) will play the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-6) on Saturday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

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