1. The Mavs got off to a hot start in the first half against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, leading by as many as 16 points. However, the home team was simply out-gunned in this one, eventually falling 99-87. The Mavs were without a laundry list of potential contributors tonight, including Dirk, CP, Wes Matthews, D-Will, Devin Harris, and JaVale McGee.There just hasn’t been enough firepower available in the preseason for the Mavs to give them any chances to win these games. ... and Dallas is therefore 0-6.
Additionally, we had to endure more harsh truths from Tyson Chandler, in town as a Sun and while he didn't play in this game, his impact was still felt.
"I didn't feel like I needed to play second fiddle to anybody," Chandler said, explaining why he departed Dallas as a free agent this summer while the Mavs were flirting with DeAndre Jordan. "I felt like I didn't deserve that. I felt like I'd accomplished a lot in this league and I wasn't going to play second fiddle to anybody."
Eventually, of course, the Mavs were left with relatively no fiddle at all.
"The part I was frustrated with is the legacy I wanted to leave here with this city and organization,'' TY said. "At the time, I felt like I was robbed of that. That's what hurt the most. It took awhile to get over that, to be quite honest."
Coach Rick Carlisle said he had no argument with Tyson's position.
"Tyson is one of the most special people I've met in my 33 years in this profession," Carlisle said. "He knows how I feel about him and he has every right to feel the way he feels.''
And we all have to go through all these feelings again.
There was a game within a game on Wednesday. Or rather, a game within a morning shootaround. And a feel-good vibe came from it.
The fellas come away from that 3-on-3 action feeling pretty good about themselves, including Wes continuing to insist that opening night is within his reach.
It's a game within a game ... maybe more important than the 99-87 one ... but that merits rapid-fire analysis nevertheless, so here goes ...
2. Felton continues to impress this preseason. He continues to be efficient on the offensive end, and has done a great job finding his teammates. He is earning his regular-season minutes. Felton finished the game as the Mavs' second-leading scorer with 17 points, and also contributed 3 assists. He has been the Mavs most consistent threat out of the backcourt.
Said Carlisle: “Felton’s playing great. He’s played as well or better than all of our point guards. He’s just been playing that well; practices and then the last two games, too. I really like what he’s doing.''
And when we get to the season-opener, and assuming Deron's a no-go? This guy might be your starting PG.
3. We’ve obviously been very critical of the Mavs preseason rebounding woes so far, but tonight they finally got the better of their opponent in that facet of the game, thanks in big part to Zaza Pachulia and Dwight Powell. More details below ...
4. Rebounding is going to be important for any team in this league, but considering the Mavs pace and style of play this season, the importance of winning the battle on the boards cannot be understated. Getting shooters like Wes Matthews and Chandler Parsons second chance opportunities will pay huge dividends down the line.
5. Dwight Powell was all over the place tonight for Dallas. He was particularly active on the boards and on the defensive end of the floor. Powell in particular looked very impressive on the boards in this one, finishing the game with eight points and 10 rebounds. Dwight has seemingly earned his spot in the rotation, especially if he continues to play with this kind of energy.
6. Zaza Pachulia got off to a bit of a rough start early, but hit a very impressive turn-around buzzer-beater with three Suns in his face that really got him going.
Pachulia’s touch around the elbow and short to midrange areas will be big for Dallas this season. Hotel Zaza finished with 10 points and 12 boards
7. John Jenkins continued his impressive play as well on Wednesday night, leading the team in scoring once again with 22 points on nine of 20 shooting. The way things are trending with him early, he could end up being the Mavs sleeper signing this off season. ... not to mention an opening-night starter at the 2 guard.
8. J.J. Barea looked solid in his return on Wednesday night, flying around the court with energy, finding open guys in good spots (Much like Devin Harris on Monday), and driving hard to the lane. J.J. finished with seven points and two helpers.
9. Jeremy Evans keeps finding ways to contribute on the offensive end. His stats weren’t overly impressive tonight, but he is showing that he belongs out on the floor. He has really excelled by using his length and athleticism around the basket, as evidence by a couple of very impressive finishes in the first half. Evans finished with four points, three boards and a block.
10. Even though Evans tends to get pushed around on the defense from time to time, as he did in this game, his quickness, energy, and athleticism on the defensive end are all there.
11. Salah Mejri filled his role nicely once again. His lack of strength is an issue, and he got bullied around a bit down low. However, he was still solid around the boards and hit some shots when he got the opportunity. We may be looking at a No. 2 center here. And we may be looking at Sammy D getting squeezed out.
12. The Mavs saw their 16-point lead dwindle in the third quarter, and Rick Carlisle was obviously frustrated. But when your team on the floor consists of Jamil Wilson, Brandon Ashley, Jenkins, Mejri, and Justin Anderson, it’s kind of hard to hold a lead.
Which isn't to say Justin Anderson is falling short of his own positive moments.
13. The preseason just hasn’t been about wins for the Mavs, it’s been about figuring out what to do with the young guns on the roster. That being said there have been some very positive things for Dallas to take from Wednesday night’s game, including the play of Powell, Zaza and Felton.
14. It’s also fairly evident that players such as Ashley, Wilson, and N’dour (who with the recent injury was a DNP on Wednesday) will probably spend most of their respective seasons playing D-League ball.
15. In the end, Dallas is obviously working out some things out as far as depth is concerned. These games will have zero impact on the Mavs rotation, so it is better to focus on the positives in these types of games, rather than read too much into the negatives.
The Dirkie/Player of the game: Zaza Pachulia was impressive on the boards and from mid-range. Again, the big man had 10 points and 12 boards, and was passing with efficiency most of the night.
Best position group: The guards. Raymond Felton and John Jenkins were both very good, and really the only offense the Mavs had outside of Pachulia.
This game was over when... The Suns stormed back and took the lead late in the third quarter. The Mavs simply just didn’t have the firepower to bounce back. The Suns had five players in double-figures on the night. Dallas was outscored 56-31 in the second half.
Should have seen coming... The Mavs were outscored in the paint 48-42. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone on this roster that can consistently make it difficult inside for opposing offenses. Alex Len, And Markieff Morris were tough for Dallas to handle inside.
Couldn't see coming... The Mavs actually won the rebounding battle tonight, 51-47. That’s a positive step moving forward, especially in the case of Dwight Powell.
What's next?: Dallas will wrap up its preseason slate in Lincoln, Nebraska against the Bulls on Friday, October 23rd at 7pm. After that, The Mavs begin the regular season with a trip to Phoenix on the 28th. ... when we're sure we'll have to hear more hard, bitter truths from Tyson Chandler.
“Hey, Phoenix is an improved team,'' Carlisle said. "There’s no doubt about it. They’re hard playing and athletic, and they’re going to be very difficult to play this year. And they didn’t even have Tyson Chandler out there, so we’ve got a lot of work in the next six or seven days before we play them.''