DALLAS, Texas – No Luka, no problem. In a tightly contested matchup, we may have witnessed an early Western Conference playoff showdown as the Dallas Mavericks pulled off an incredible home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers 114-110.
Without their rookie star and the team’s leading scorer, the Mavs were desperately needing answers offensively to ‘will’ them to a much-needed victory and they found it. Harrison Barnes reminded the city of Dallas why he’s been the Mavs leading scorer for the past two seasons with a season high 30 points on 40% shooting from the field. It’s imperative that DeAndre Jordan didn’t have any extra incentives Sunday night in his first meeting against his former team, however his 23 rebounds might indicate otherwise.
There were blood and teeth flying everywhere as both teams got off to a hot start with several lead changes that ultimately resulted in the Clippers taking an unconvincing 35-34 lead after one. A three-point shot by Patrick Beverly gave the Clippers what would ultimately be their largest lead of the night at 48-39 with 8:10 remaining in the 2ndquarter.
Coming off the bench and providing the offensive intensity, J.J. Barea scored the Mavs next six baskets in a row to cut the lead down to three 52-49. J.J led the entire first half in scoring with 20 points as the Mavs finished the first half with 62% shooting from the field.
The second half was nothing short of entertainment and excitement as Jordan scored 16 points to go with his season-high rebound total. After trading baskets for the final two minutes of the contest, a three-point shot made by Lou Williams gave the Clippers their final lead for the night. Dorian Finney-Smith tipped in a rebound with 35 seconds remaining to give Dallas the lead for good.
This Year’s Difference?
Defense. DeAndre Jordan, who played 10 seasons with the Clippers before signing with the Mavs as a free agent in the offseason, set the tone early with his rebounding, six of which came from the offensive side of the floor. After Sunday’s performance, Dallas is ranked in the top 10 defensively to add to that explosive offense. The addition of DeAndre Jordan has created more opportunities for the offense to score more points. The Mavs are now ranked 6thin second chance points and Jordan is a huge reason why with his 14-rebound average on a nightly basis. In Sunday’s game, Dallas won the rebound battle 64-44.
Sixth Man Comparison
For the first 20+ games into this year’s 2018-19 NBA season, it has nearly been a foregone conclusion that veteran Lou Williams will be this season’s Sixth Man of the year – which will make Williams a 3x Sixth Man of the year winner in 14 seasons. And we understand why. He’s averaging around 18 ppg off the bench while providing 25+ minutes consistently this season. One can argue that his consistent scoring has largely to do with why the Clippers are the top team in the West at the moment. With all that being said – Sunday night was hijacked to J.J. Barea.
Barea’s 20-point first half performance was more than enough to give the Mavs a 62-58 lead at the half. Barea finished last night’s game with 24 points on 50% shooting from the field. His basketball I.Q is beyond this world. He has the game down to a science and his teammates are willing to rally behind his veteran leadership. The Mavs have now won 9 out of the last 12 games and Barea has averaged 14 points over the last two and a half weeks.
When it comes to this year’s potential Sixth Man of the year, of course we can’t ignore Derrick Rose who’s leading the entire league in bench scoring 19.2, as well as Dennis Schroder who was traded to OKC this past offseason. But last night, J.J. Barea made his case convincingly and we only can expect more from here.
Now Is The Time
If the Mavs want a make a push for this year’s playoffs, now is the time. They’re 8-2 at home and currently sitting 8thin the Western Conference, just two and a half games behind the Trailblazers. After further evaluation of this team thus far, one can argue that all they have to do is get in. Sunday night proved that the Mavs aren’t just riding the coat tail of their 1stround pick in Luka Doncic. Harrison Barnes reminded everyone that he’s an offensive threat to be wrecking with. Jordan’s rebound performance has single-handily placed the Mavs in the top 10 amongst defensive shares this season. Barea has provided the scoring, leadership and intensity off the bench – and the Mavs are doing all of this without their franchise veteran Dirk Nowitzki who’s expected to return this month.
The Dallas Mavericks are set to host Portland on Tuesday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. To stay up to date on all things Mavericks and more, be sure to subscribe to You Can Argue That Sports and receive notifications of new posts and podcasts by email.